Opposition parties reacted with fury Monday after President Emmerson Mnangagwa appeared to suggest that he was not aware of the that police and soldiers were beating up civilians around the country.
Mnangagwa used his Twitter account to say he was "appalled" after seeing reports by UK-based Sky News of police and soldiers attacking protestors.
The Zanu PF leader tweeted that "this is not the Zimbabwean way" after Sky's Africa correspondent, John Sparks, revealed the atrocities he has seen in the country over the past week as Zimbabweans protest against a 150% fuel price rise.
"I was appalled by today's Sky News report. This is not the Zimbabwean way," said 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."
However, in separate interviews with NewZimbabwe.com, opposition parties insisted that Mnangagwa was fully aware of the brutal crackdown against civilians by the security services.
"It's like they (Mnangagwa and his government) are suffering from a split personality disorder," said MDC national spokesman Jacob Mafume.
"One day they smile and the next day they bite, maybe they take their nicknames (Crocodile) literally."
Build Zimbabwe Alliance (BZA) leader Noah Manyika said; "who are these men in the military and security forces who brutalise fellow citizens and continue to curse our land by spilling blood?
"My hat off to John Sparks and Sky News for the courageous reporting that exposes not just the brutality of the current regime, but the cowardice and hypocrisy of pastors, prophets, journalists, feminists etc who won't speak out on behalf of the oppressed and abused to protect their political relationships and their place at the feeding trough."
Linda Masarira, spokesperson for the MDC-T, said the President's remarks showed that he is out touch with reality.
"We do not expect a whole executive president to wait for Sky News yet most of these things were being recorded daily by local media in the country," Linda told NewZimbabwe.com
We need to have a President who is concerned about the welfare of his people because it is the people of Zimbabwe who voted for him to be President of this country.
"We expect him to also listen to what the local media are saying to come up with tangible solutions to the demise and the crisis facing the nation."
She added; "We are tired of cheap talk and we expect him to show leadership to ensure peace and make sure that all the soldiers are contained back in the barracks where they belong.
"We need just we need peace and reconciliation and we expect the Zanu PF lead by example and show that there are indeed the second republic and not an extension of the Robert Mugabe regime."
The army and the police have denied responsibility for the brutal attacks, blaming what they describe as rogue elements who reportedly stole military and ZRP uniforms.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa urged victims to report the attacks to the authorities.
ZRP spokesperson Charity Charamba added; "All aggrieved members of the public should come forward and report to the police so that thorough and comprehensive investigations are conducted."