Zimbabwe president returns, vows `heads will roll’ after violence

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Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, on Tuesday, promised that any member of the security forces involved in misconduct during deadly protests recently would be punished, after cutting short an overseas trip.

“Violence or misconduct by our security forces is unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe.

“Chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated. Misconduct will be investigated. If required, heads will roll,’’ he tweeted.

Mr Mnangagwa noted, however, that the protesters had also been violent, looting and attacking police stations.

The protests broke out after the government over doubled fuel prices, an extra blow to Zimbabweans already struggling due to the country’s ailing economy.

The Zimbabwean Human Rights NGO Forum has said no fewer than 12 people were killed in the unrest.

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The violence has been an embarrassment for Mr Mnangagwa, who was headed to the World Economic Forum in Davos, looking to shore up investment, but cut his trip short.

Mr Mnangagwa, who took over from former President Robert Mugabe in 2017, has promised to fix the economy messed up by his predecessor.

He has been wooing investment with the refrain “Zimbabwe is open for business,’’ and has been keen to establish himself as more democratic and respectful of human rights than Mr Mugabe.

However, some Zimbabweans are now saying things are worse under Mnangagwa, who was Mugabe’s right hand man for decades before falling out with him.

After the protests, the Zimbabwe government began an internet blackout, which a court on Monday ruled was illegal.

(dpa/NAN)

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