Zimbabwe president Emmerson Mnangagwa broke off a foreign tour on Sunday as criticism grew over a brutal crackdown on protests at home, saying he wanted “to get Zimbabwe calm, stable and working again”.
“In light of the economic situation, I will be returning home after a highly productive week of bilateral trade and investment meetings,” he said on Twitter, scrapping plans to attend the Davos summit this week.
“We will be ably represented in Davos by Minister of Finance, Mthuli Ncube. The first priority is to get Zimbabwe calm, stable and working again.”
The crackdown has underlined fears of a return to the violent repression of Robert Mugabe, who was ousted from power by the military 14 months ago.
At least 12 people have been killed and 78 treated for gunshot injuries over the last week, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, which has recorded more than 240 incidents of assault and torture.
The UN has fiercely criticised the government reaction to the protests as allegations mount of shootings, beatings and abductions of opposition figures, activists and ordinary residents.
Mnangagwa, who is seeking much-needed foreign investment, was in Kazakhstan on Sunday after starting his tour in Russia last Monday.
© Agence France-Presse