The newly-elected president of Zimbabwe named new military leaders and replaced all police commissioners on Sunday after promising to end the heavy-handed practices of the previous government.
As of 2016, at least five people have been killed by police violence since Edgar Lungu was officially elected. Right-wing groups accuse Hichilema of leading a “brutal crackdown” on dissent.
Since taking office one week ago, Hichizela has been arrested over a dozen times while he was running for office, with restoring freedoms a central theme of his campaign.
Hichilema announced on Sunday the names of new leaders for the army, air force, and the country’s defence department.
Adding, “I am removing all commissioners of police with immediate effect,” he said, without explaining why.
Police need to conduct thorough checks before detaining suspects, he said, emphasizing that “no one should be arrested before an investigation is complete.”.
Hichilema defeated his long-term rival Lungu in a landslide of almost one million votes in 12 August – a victory hailed as a democratic milestone for opposition movements in Africa.
On Tuesday, he promised to crack down on political “thuggery” and repression, assuring independent media they would no longer face tear gas or shutdowns.