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by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE incoming administration of Emmerson Mnangagwa has been urged to uphold the rights of government officials detained by the military during the ousting of longtime Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the military should publicly acknowledge the identities and location of those arrested and detained as well as ensure that their due process rights, including access to lawyers and family members, were respected.
Several loyalists of Mugabe, who were campaigning for the First Lady, Grace Mugabe to succeed her husband, were arrested during a bloodless coup which the military said was targeting criminals around ‘Mugabe.’
“The military should clear the air about any arrests across Zimbabwe and hand over any criminal suspects to the appropriate civilian authorities according to law,” said Dewa Mavhinga, Southern Africa director at HRW.
He said failing to disclose the whereabouts of those detained was an enforced disappearance that placed detainees at greater risk of abuse.
Reports indicate the military arrested a number of the former president’s associates and that they remain in detention.
However, the military has not provided information about any arrest, location, conditions of detention or reasons for arrest.
Among those arrested are finance minister, Ignatious Chombo.
State media reported higher and tertiary education minister, Jonathan Moyo, had been arrested and was in military detention.
Moyo may have since been released following Mugabe’s resignation on Tuesday.
Mugabe’s expelled deputy, Mnangagwa, is to be sworn-in on Friday.
– CAJ News