UN rights expert visits Zimbabwe amid protest bans, abductions

UN rights expert visits Zimbabwe amid protest bans, abductions 1

HARARE – The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the right to peaceful assembly and association begins a 10-day visit to Zimbabwe on Tuesday to assess the country’s challenges in relation to the exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association in the country. Clément Nyaletsossi Voule’s visit comes as the Zimbabwe government is under the spotlight for clamping down on protests and strikes by labour unions. Doctors held a candlelight vigil at Parirenyatwa Hospital on Monday night demanding the release of the leader of their union, Dr…

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Minister under fire for labelling brutalised MDC official a ‘prostitute’

Minister under fire for labelling brutalised MDC official a ‘prostitute’ 3

HARARE – Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi caused outrage on Tuesday after labelling an MDC official allegedly attacked by Zanu PF youths in Kwekwe a “prostitute”. The MDC said its Midlands Youth Assembly chairperson Sekai Marashe was taken to a local Zanu PF office and brutally assaulted. “She was abducted to the Zanu PF headquarters in Kwekwe and assaulted. She sustained serious injuries,” the MDC said in a statement. Posting a picture of Marashe with a swollen face, Mutodi commented: “No matter how democratic our government can be, we can…

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MDC organising secretary Amos Chibaya freed on bail over August 16 protest

MDC organising secretary Amos Chibaya freed on bail over August 16 protest 5

HARARE – A court freed a senior opposition official on bail on Monday, after charging him with failing to stop an anti-government protest that authorities had banned. Amos Chibaya, national organising secretary for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was an organiser of a street demonstration the party convened in Harare on August 16 to launch a national protest movement. The MDC accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of political repression and mismanaging an economy that is mired in its worst crisis in a decade. Police banned the Harare demonstration…

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Police hold MDC’s Chibaya over Harare protest as gunmen fire on Marondera MP’s house

Police hold MDC’s Chibaya over Harare protest as gunmen fire on Marondera MP’s house 7

HARARE – Police arrested the Movement for Democratic Change’s organising secretary and MP Amos Chibaya on Thursday on charges of failing to stop a banned protest last week in Harare, his lawyer said. Chibaya’s arrest came as police opened an investigation after the home of the MDC’s Marondera Central MP Caston Matewu was shot at early Thursday. The unidentified gunmen fired at the MP’s house, vehicle and a water tank in the 2.30AM raid. The MDC, which accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of repression and economic mismanagement, called a demonstration…

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Political reform hopes dim in Zimbabwe as police block more protests

Political reform hopes dim in Zimbabwe as police block more protests 10

HARARE – Police deployed in force on Wednesday to block a street protest for the fourth time in six days, as the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said hopes were vanishing that the government might become more tolerant of dissent than the regime it replaced. President Emmerson Mnangagwa was controversially elected a year ago on a pro-reform ticket, promising a break with the political repression that characterised Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule and an economic upturn. But the economy is mired in its worst crisis in a decade, and security forces…

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Zimbabwe accuses Western diplomats of ‘contemptuous attitude’ and fomenting ‘anarchy’

Zimbabwe accuses Western diplomats of ‘contemptuous attitude’ and fomenting ‘anarchy’ 12

HARARE – The Zimbabwe government issued a statement accusing Western diplomats of fomenting “anarchy” in Zimbabwe – and then recalled the statement before issuing another in which that passage was removed. Hours after Western diplomats issued a statement criticising the Zimbabwe government’s banning of opposition protests and the kidnapping and torture of rights activists, the first response signed by government spokesman Ndavaningi Mangwana appeared on the Ministry of Information’s Twitter feed. Mangwana accused the western diplomats of showing a “contemptuous attitude towards our institutions including the judiciary” which rubber-stamped police…

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25 Harare ‘protesters’ denied bail, magistrates say they might re-offend

25 Harare ‘protesters’ denied bail, magistrates say they might re-offend 14

HARARE – Twenty-five suspected protestors who allegedly participated in last Friday’s demonstration in Harare will remain in custody after a court ruled that they are likely to re-offend because the opposition is planning more protests. The magistrates also ruled that it is not in dispute that the protestors defied a police order banning the march organised by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The suspects are facing charges of participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence and breach peace. The 26th suspect is a minor who was…

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EU, US, Canada and Australia call on Mnangagwa to address ‘severe social situation’

EU, US, Canada and Australia call on Mnangagwa to address ‘severe social situation’ 16

HARARE – Top diplomats from the United States, Canada, Australia and the European Union on Tuesday called on Zimbabwean authorities to allow opposition protests and investigate rights abuses after activists were kidnapped and tortured. Authorities banned anti-government protests called by the opposition in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said half a dozen activists had been abducted by armed men as they slept, tortured and dumped barely clothed in the winter cold. In a joint statement, the Heads of Mission of the Delegation of the European…

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Police ban anti-government protests in Gweru, MDC says judiciary ‘compromised’

Police ban anti-government protests in Gweru, MDC says judiciary ‘compromised’ 18

GWERU – Police banned planned anti-government demonstration in the Midlands city of Gweru on Tuesday, enforcing similar actions taken in Harare on August 16 and Bulawayo on August 19. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials said police informed them that they had issued a prohibition order banning the protest over fears violence would erupt. Armed police maintained heavy presence on the streets of Gweru to enforce the restriction which was used to prevent protests in Harare and Bulawayo. MDC deputy president Tendai Biti said the prohibition notice had been…

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Police ban MDC’s Bulawayo demonstration citing ‘public disorder’ fears

Police ban MDC’s Bulawayo demonstration citing ‘public disorder’ fears 20

HARARE- Police have banned an anti-government demonstration planned for Monday by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Bulawayo, saying it would likely result in “public disorder”. Police banned another demonstration in Harare on Friday, when they chased opposition supporters from the capital’s streets with tear gas and arrested dozens of people. The MDC, which accuses President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of repression and mismanagement, called for the protests over the country’s worst economic crisis in a decade. “Ordinary citizens in the country are experiencing hardships so any call for the…

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