The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told Zimbabwe’s president to ensure that security forces “show maximum restraint” and urged its opposition leader to pursue electoral grievances through legal channels.
U.N. deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said Tuesday that the secretary-general phoned President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on Monday and told them any legal decision on the election results “would need to be independent.”
Haq said Guterres expressed hope that Zimbabweans “will move forward in unity.” He reiterated U.N. calls on political leaders and the population “to exercise restraint and to reject any form of violence.”
Haq called the calls “constructive,” adding: “Certainly our hope is that the reassurances provided by the leaders will be borne out, also by their supporters.”
Human Rights Watch said it had documented “numerous cases” of soldiers beating up people in some Harare bars and restaurants since the Aug. 1 shootings. The military accused the people of undermining Mnangagwa because most votes in the capital went to the opposition, the group said.
The military and police in a joint statement said they condemn all forms of violence and warned that “some of these individuals might be criminals masquerading as soldiers.”
Sibusiso Moyo, Zimbabwe’s foreign affairs minister and a retired army general, denied allegations that soldiers were beating people, reported The Herald state-run newspaper.
“All what we are realizing is that there is a lot of misinformation that is coming out from social media,” Moyo told ambassadors and others in Harare on Monday, according to the report.
He said the military is “a well-trained and very disciplined force” that at one point “took over the responsibility of policing,” a reference to the military takeover in November that led to the resignation of 94-year-old Mugabe after 37 years in power. Associated Press