Zimbabwe arrests Mnangagwa critic over Facebook post

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Zimbabwe President elect Emmerson Mnangagwa addresses a press conference at State House in Harare, on August 3, 2018. Mnangagwa defended the landmark election in which he was declared victorious, despite claims from the opposition of vote-rigging. MARCO LONGARI / AFP

Zimbabwean police have arrested a critic of Emmerson Mnangagwa on charges of insulting the president in a Facebook post, lawyers said Thursday, highlighting allegations of a crackdown on government opponents.

Munyaradzi Shoko, a well-known critic of Mnangagwa, was held after he posted statements on Facebook saying the president’s name was “generally associated with evil and devilish deeds.”

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights spokesman Kumbirai Mafunda said Shoko was arrested on Wednesday.

“They detained him at Harare central police station where they charged him with criminal nuisance,” Mafunda told AFP.

“They said his statements were likely to interfere with the ordinary comfort, peace and quiet of the public.”

Police not immediately available to comment.

Mafunda said Shoko, who heads the pressure group Children of Zimbabwe War Veterans Association, was also charged with public violence for allegedly taking part in protests by opposition supporters after July 30 elections.

At least six people were killed after soldiers opened fire at the protests.

Mngangagwa won the presidential election, though the results are being challenged in court.

The government and security forces have been accused of a violent crackdown on MDC opposition supporters since the vote.

Mngangagwa succeeded long-time ruler Robert Mugabe who was ousted in November 2017 following a brief military takeover.