The Purge

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Human rights groups are accusing the Zimbabwean authorities of launching a crackdown against opposition politicians and their supporters shortly after the country’s general elections that many critics say were stolen by the incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his ruling party, the Guardian reported Tuesday.

Following last month’s polls, many lawmakers from the opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) have been arrested and face a slew of charges ranging from defacing posters to attempted murder.

While some politicians have been cleared, others are still working their way through the courts.

Meanwhile, human rights advocates said there have been reports of abductions and torture: They referenced the case of Womberaishe Nhende, a recently elected local council member in the capital Harare, who was allegedly subjected to an abduction and torture earlier this month.

The recent incidents come weeks after Mnangagwa and his Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) won the country’s elections, despite criticism from international observers that the elections fell short of democratic standards.

The CCC described the results as a “gigantic fraud” and has called for a fresh vote.

Opposition figures and advocates said the post-election crackdown shows that the government is “targeting all the voices of dissent.” But police officials denied the allegations, saying that they are “simply following protocols.”

Critics have long accused the ZANU-PF – in power since the country’s independence in 1980 – of using the courts to target opposition politicians and silence dissent.

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