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Zimbabwe on the edge

‘Campaigning against one’s country’ to be made illegal.
It isn’t a military state, but soldiers with AK47s are on the streets, at roadblocks and even in supermarket car parks, while legislation intended to ‘muzzle free speech and media’ is to be tabled in parliament. Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

‘Zimbabwe on the edge’, ‘Crisis in Zimbabwe’, ‘De facto state of emergency in Zimbabwe’ – these are not my words but the banner headlines on South African television news channels this week.

After a fortnight of crisis that saw over 60 people arrested, including journalists, internationally acclaimed author Tsitsi Dangarembga, Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, opposition and civil rights members, Zimbabwe was reeling in shock.

We saw riot police jumping over the railing of a peaceful Harare coffee shop to arrest Mahere; the arrest of a woman carrying a placard saying ‘End hunger’; police hunting for a journalist and seizing his sister instead when they couldn’t find him.

Horrific abduction

We heard the horrific account of the abduction and torture of a journalist’s 22-year-old nephew: blindfolded, chained and taken to a place where he was forced to drink urine, beaten repeatedly over two days and finally dumped three kilometres from his home.

His lawyer said: “I’m deeply concerned about the injuries suffered by my client, leading to acute renal failure. I understand his captors repeatedly stamped on him as he lay face down. He also has severe tissue damage around the buttocks and under his feet.”

After news of all these events became widely known locally and internationally, President Emmerson Mnangagwa made a broadcast to the nation. He said there were people who were trying to “destabilise the country” and called them “rogue Zimbabweans” and “rotten apples” who he said would be “flushed out”.

Read: Zim president decries ‘divisive falsehoods’ over rights abuse claims

In recent weeks critics have been called “terrorists” and “dark forces”, and the president said new measures were to be brought out to criminalise “campaigning against one’s country”. After a post-cabinet briefing a minister said: “Campaigning against one’s country shall be legislated at law and criminalised.”

Legislation

Legislation that will “prohibit hate speech by public officials, media houses, and citizens in public spaces and social, print and electronic media platforms” is to be presented in parliament. MDC Alliance Deputy President Tendai Biti said the new measures were coming in a “badly drafted Cyber Security and Data Protection Bill” which he described as “fascist dross intended to muzzle free speech and media”.

Our neighbours started to take notice. South Africa’s Department of International Relations said it “noted with concern the reports related to human rights violations in Zimbabwe” and later said it would send two ‘special envoys’ to the country.

Read: South Africa raises red flag over Zimbabwe rights abuses reports

Former Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, naming some of the people arrested, said on Twitter: “Fadzayi, Tsitsi, Julie, Terrence, Loveridge, and all the others in Zimbabwe’s protest may God give you strength and courage in your pursuit of freedom.”

Botswana’s former president Ian Khama said on Twitter: “Let’s not forget to pray for our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe as the situation is deteriorating rapidly.”

Sadly, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, and current African presidents are yet to speak.

The UN Secretary-General has urged the government to ensure the protection of all human rights, especially freedom of opinion and expression and the right of peaceful assembly and association.

In the days that have followed the crackdown of a mass protest that never even happened, we have kept our heads down and eyes averted. Soldiers with AK47s strapped on their backs or sticks in their hands are still in our towns, at roadblocks, on the streets and even in supermarket car parks.

Zimbabwe isn’t a military state, but in the past fortnight retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri, who was also Zimbabwe’s Minister of Agriculture, died. Last week President Mnangagwa appointed Air Commodore Jasper Chimedza as the new Health Permanent Secretary and this week appointed Zimbabwe’s Vice President, Retired General Chiwenga, as the new Minister of Health.

Award-winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who was exposing corruption at the highest levels in Zimbabwe, is still incarcerated. He has been repeatedly denied bail and on Friday (August 7) was moved to Chikurubi Prison in Harare. He is not forgotten, nor are all the other brave Zimbabweans whose names and horrific stories have filled our minds and hearts in recent weeks.

Nor are the lives of millions of ordinary Zimbabweans struggling to survive 780% inflation and a government that has forgotten them.

It was heartbreaking to see two mothers shopping in a supermarket this morning, picking up and putting down all the food they cannot afford: bread, maize meal, sugar, margarine, rice, even vegetables. All #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.

Cathy Buckle is a Zimbabwean writer and blogger living in Marondera, Zimbabwe.

Copyright © Cathy Buckle

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COMMENTS   37

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Where is the “Black Lives Matter” movement now? Why so quiet?

Simple JNRB. The shops in Zim are empty, so nothing for the “looting movement” known as BLM to loot.

Facile, superficial, cheap shot response. You have clearly been drinking Trump’s Kool-Aid.

Conflating BLM protesters with looters is a tired and many-times debunked right-wing technique for discrediting a legitimate movement with real, meaningful humanitarian goals.

Try paying attention to the news instead of believing the frothing-at-the-mouth right-wing propagandists.

Chris Bedford, since you are apparently so well informed, what are the goals of the blm movement?

I suggest you broaden your sources of information.

Blm only matters when it’s white on black violence. There, now you know.

@ChrisBedford Go pick some flowers with your liberal mates.

When we have a WLM, I’ll be up for a BLM

You sure you not getting your movements mixed up? The greatest “looting movement” is government and politicians. A couple televisions is nothing compared to the real looting taking place locally and in the USA.

I fail to see how this suddenly became about race and the BL Movement. Since we are at it, why not expound further.
The Primary objective for BLM is to achieve equality amongst blacks and their white counterparts. To say there has always been equality amongst us as a people since slavery is completely foolish.
The civil rights bill, drafted by the American White Super Power individuals, was in essence a bill to FORCE the white man how to be civil with the black man.(i dare anyone to deny that, you can study all academic sources available, i will wait to be proven wrong). The Bill promised that whites and blacks will be equal, and that has been one great lie, till today.
BLM does not claim superiority or greater importance to other races. Black people believed we were ALL equal, as the Bill stated. But the treatment on black people, by the white people states otherwise. Evidenced by actions. BLM fights for a place of equality, to be on an even plain with white people. That is it. Racial equality. That does not mean blacks are exonerated from their heinous crimes against each other. Every race has it’s own draw backs, crimes committed within the race. Every single race. Blacks have to contend with their own infighting as well as abuse from from the other race.
Let us not fuel racial debates with hollow argumentative nonsense. Let us be sensitive to the plight of everyone in need of help, no matter the race. Humanity is key. Not which race is right or wrong, silent or loud mouthed. Come on!

SAHRC also very quiet. I wonder why.

I reposted a comment posted months which relates to Zimbabwe same which received just short of a 100 “likes”

No racial comment, just bare facts..Nothing compared to what Malema and BLF rant and rave about

Yet Moneyweb deleted the comment!

The inconsistency they displays is irritating , their action bothersome and selective

@Seve…Yes, I have also noticed MW censoring truther comments, and quite a few people have brought this issue up… MW are definitely revealing their leftist tendencies, and anyone with a conservative viewpoint gets censored if it does not fit their liberal outlook.

It’s sad really – the days of true ‘free speech’ are really becoming a thing of the past, but in effect only serves to give the truther community more validity.

The consequence of a liberation movement not disbanding after “liberation”.

Once things settle more and more scum floats to the top.

Mnangagwa isn’t called ‘The Crocodile’ for nothing. Heavily implicated in past massacres. Africa has seen a string of dictators like this. Ever since the ‘evil’ colonialists pulled out.

Once again the world will sit and watch people die by their millions and do nothing. They sit in their fancy leather chairs at the United Nations squabbling about policy and feeding their already fat faces. The very existence of the UN was for the prevention of the very things it allows to happen. They are nothing more than a bunch of loud mouth toothless puppets.

A ‘peacekeeping force’ will be sent in only after we see the deaths of thousands of unarmed men women and children. In the meantime presidents and prime ministers will publicly condemn the atrocities but do absolutely nothing, but if Zimbabwe had just one precious metal that the world needed the entire world would be mobilizing now to invade.

Our planet is so devoid of leaders and so over populated with self serving self righteous hypocrites.

Why should the UN bail anybody out? Who gives the UN money to bail countries out? The world are sick and tired of bailing countries out. American funding is drying up. Trump wants American money to be spend in America and that is not wrong. Zimbabwe has been a failure since Ian Smith was kicked out. No sympathy for Zim from me. Sorry.

I completely agree with you Chris Stoffel.
Foreign financial aid driven by the UN vehicle is a waste of money. It is not used as intended, and it does not achieve what is expected. All that foreign money is best used in the country of its origin. Sub-Saharan Africa needs to subjected to lessons learnt in blood not crimes. I was actually very glad when Trump stopped financial aid to WHO.

Don’t hold “the world” responsible for the afro-socialist Zimbo mess.

Hahaha really?

Rather ask, Where were ALL the PROGRESSIVES!! over the last few DECADES!?

all those enablers of the “liberation” of “the people” in zimboland?

As usual the progressive “western liberators” disappear into the crowds and leave their humanitarian mess for the rest to fix.

The “progressives” who supported the anti-apartheid and independence movements were more concerned with keeping Southern African agricultural and other export products off the markets, therefore, eliminating the competition for Australia, New Zealand and others. Additionally, European leaders who supported the whole independence movement felt that if the Africans can rule in Africa, then at least there won’t be mass emigration to Europe from former French, Portuguese and British colonies. Therefore selling out the small minority at the Southern tip of Africa was inevitable. The “progressives” had an agenda of their own and there was nothing noble about it.

@Jnrb – On the Money, I notice their plan has backfired, those illegal boats are sailing into EU/UK shores by the day in flocks.

KevJones, Zimbabwe (or SA for that matter) doesn’t even register as an issue in the long list of issues the world faces right now.

The number of presentations I go to in which the presenter’s company’s brand obscures the whole continent is indicative of this.

The people of Zim are very much on their own.

@trader123, the flocks became fleets when they entered the water.

Great Britain as the former colonial power needs to send in a big military force and overthrow that communist regime. Great Britain needs to take over the governance of that country for ever!
The UN is a useless institution which should just be disbanded.

Zimbabweans love being poor and hungry.

If they didn’t, they’d simply elect another government.

Soon coming to a town near you.

ZANU-PF does not have to worry – their fellow liberation party business will help them stay in power.

These events show up the dismal failure of the Zimbo opposition and also the international election observers not to insist that overseas Zimbo’s could vote, which could have had a different outcome in the last election.

why is anyone surprised. The present leadership in Zimbabwe is just a continuation of the Mugabe regime after all they were complicit and part of what happened then. Actually similar to what is going on in RSA, Ramaphosa was deputy president under Zuma, the leadership here is also unchanged as proved by the heinous corruption still happening in the midst of a global crisis. added to that first world countries have enough problems of their own to worry about despicable regimes on this continent,

RHM: The votes are utterly irrelevant and a farce as the outcome is predetermined and even if it were not and the governing party lost , they would simply not give up power anyway . The only way to change African Govts has become a Coup/Military overthrow !!!

Zimbabwe on the edge, what ” Edge ” seems as if that Edge was passed sometime ago already.

You cannot legislate what is hate speech since hate speech is subjective. Another beautiful country ruined by leftist idealologies.

People lie in 2 ways, the first by simply not telling the truth and the second by not saying anything which is facy lying by omission.

The Reaso why Southern African Countries have not interfered in Zimbabwe:

South Africa is heading down a similar road and the now liberation rulers are eradicating the unwanted occupiers if this is not true then what other decent reason is their for the anc to terminated our ICC membership?

Where is the BLM movement, the US Democracy ARMY or the UN?
At what point do humans need to suffer without intervention.

It’s like the gentle souls down here who burn clinics and schools and loot crashed vehicles and the injured occupants. I would compare Zim to that but there’s nothing left to loot or burn. I know the country very well and they took a world-class, thriving nation and turned it into the proverbial basket case. As someone said above, coming soon to a town near you. A historical and Darwinian certainty. Plan accordingly

I think our politicians must be on hallucinogenics to think that their statements could ever be taken seriously!
They preach for foreign investment, IMF assistance and compensate what they regard as ‘foreign/western’ farmers on one day. And then voice their anger over ‘dark/western forces’ the next.
It’s like the mother of all mood swings!

For once I agree with SA government’s silence, for their affairs are in such a shambles that it would amount to the pot calling the kettle black.
Hypocrites can’t agree with themselves, let alone one another!

Government is slowly bus surely trying to disarm South Africans with ridiculous gun laws, Make sure you have a means for self protection. Get training, get ammo. For just in case. Why does a government want to disarm citizens?

Africa, still not mature enough for democracy, don’t care what anyone says!

Zimbabwe has tremendous mineral wealth, including large reserves of Lithium, Palladium, Chrome, Vanadium, Platinum. There’s also gold and diamonds if you get bored with Lithium. Still not enough? There’s also coal, iron, nickel and copper.

Zimbabwe used to be an agriculture superpower. Now it’s just a subsistence farming country.

As someone who has lived in southern Africa their entire life, I struggle to grasp why black lives only matter outside of Africa, in places like Europe and the United States. Inside Africa, life is cheap it seems.

End of comments.

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