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article imageZimbabwe's Mnangagwa 'appalled' by filmed attack on civilian

By AFP     Jan 28, 2019 in World

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday said he was "appalled" by a televised report showing security forces repeatedly beating a detained civilian, and ordered the arrest of those responsible.

The handcuffed man was filmed by Sky News being slapped, punched and kicked on the streets of the capital Harare.

"I was appalled by today's @SkyNews report. That is not the Zimbabwean way," tweeted Mnangagwa.

"I have instructed that the individuals behind this be arrested and encourage all those impacted to contact the authorities and file an official complaint," he wrote.

Nationwide demonstrations erupted after Mnangagwa announced on January 12 that fuel prices were being more than doubled in a country suffering spiralling inflation and regular shortages of necessities.

Security forces instigated a brutal crackdown to crush the anti-government protests in a move condemned by human rights groups.

Over the weekend, Zimbabwe's government pledged to "thoroughly" investigate allegations of abuse and rape levelled against its security forces.

The actions of the police and military have shattered Mnangagwa's claims to have turned a fresh page after the violently repressive era of Robert Mugabe.

The pledge by Mnangagwa to deal with the televised incident of brutality comes as new problems brewed for the government on Monday as unions threatened strike action over low wages.

Unions have demanded wage increases for civil servants but said talks with ministers were deadlocked and that a 14-day notice to strike had expired.

More than 300,000 civil servants are demanding their wages are significantly increased or to be paid in US dollars.

The government has come up with an offer which is the equivalent to $300 million but which would be paid in bond notes, the local quasi-currency.

Although it would equate to an increase of about 20 percent per worker, they rejected the offer, asking to be paid in US dollars.

"There has been no agreement on the substantive matter of the $300 million we refused last time," David Dzatsunga, secretary of the Civil Service Apex Council, told AFP.

The demand to be paid in hard currency is aimed at cushioning against the high cost of living as official inflation now hovers over 40 percent, the highest in a decade. Economists say prices have gone up three times in recent months.

The unions have demanded that the salary of the lowest paid worker be raised from $400 to $1,300.

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