Three Years After Mugabe’s Ouster, Hope Dissipates In Zimbabwe

File photo of Zimbabwe’s former President, Robert Mugabe. Credit: AFP

 

Zimbabwe’s former leader Robert Mugabe stepped down on November 21, 2017, bringing an end to nearly four decades of iron-fisted rule.

His resignation came days after military tanks rolled through the capital Harare. The coup was greeted with euphoria, tens of thousands pouring into the streets to celebrate.

But today, three years after his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa took over, the high hopes for change have dissipated into disaffection.

What has changed after Mugabe?

“Nothing has changed. Things have only got worse,” said Ibbo Mandaza, head of the Harare-based Southern African Political and Economic Series.

“Look at the levels of poverty. Look at the repression. Things are much worse.”

Is the economy any better?

On assuming power, Mnangagwa pledged to fix the country’s moribund economy which had taken a battering under Mugabe’s watch.

But the economic woes — including the foreign currency crunch which plagued Mugabe’s rule — remain the promise of new jobs still a pipe dream for many.

While some goods which were once either scarce or inaccessible are now readily available, most of the population cannot afford basic necessities.

The UN World Food Programme, which has traditionally provided aid to the poor in rural areas, has expanded its reach to urban dwellers.

The World Bank predicts the economy will contract by 10 per cent this year, while the government says it will shrink 4.5 per cent due to macro-economic and Covid-19 shocks.

Mnangagwa has blamed the economic struggles on unnamed enemies.

“This battle is being fuelled by our political detractors, elite opportunists and malcontents who are bent on pushing a nefarious agenda,” he has claimed.

The ruling Zanu-PF party claimed Friday that at least 500,000 formal jobs had been created under Mnangagwa.

What about human rights?

Mnangagwa’s government has targeted opposition figures, rights activists and lawyers in what is seen as a tactic to strike fear into a restive population.

Human rights monitoring group Zimbabwe Peace Project said that since November 2017 it has documented 7,962 cases of abuse, including abductions of around 100 activists and opposition figures by suspected state agents or pro-government supporters.

Rights abuses “are worse and more gruesome,” prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko said.

In 2018, six people were gunned down when soldiers deployed to quell protests over delayed election results.

Five months later 17 others were killed after the military was sent out to quell demonstrations over a fuel price hike.

Award-winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has been detained twice this year — once for endorsing anti-corruption protests and more recently for tweeting about plans to grant bail to a politically-connected miners chief arrested trying to smuggle gold.

 Is anything new politically?

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure said the present picture “points to a comprehensively volatile situation”.

“Nothing points to stability but I don’t want to overstate this because we have reached this crossroads many times before and the country has not collapsed. The default position in the country is one of instability. It appears like the new normal.

“It’s an exceptional case where the regime survives despite the volatility, where citizens don’t rise up despite the simmering anger. The regime staggers but does not fall. That’s the mystery of our situation.”

 What are ordinary people saying?

On the streets of Harare, resident Timothy Bhaureni said: “things cannot continue this way”.

“These people should just admit they have failed.”

“Little did we know that we were swimming into a pool infested with crocodiles,” Itai Tione Wasu tweeted.

“Mugabe had to go but I regret allowing myself to endorse the coup.”

AFP

Zimbabwean Journalist Freed After Arrest Over Tweet

A photo taken on October 21, 2020 shows the logo of the American online social media and social networking service, Facebook and Twitter on a computer screen in Lille.

A Zimbabwean high court freed award-winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono on bail Friday following his arrest earlier this month for allegedly obstructing justice by tweeting about a gold smuggling case.

Chin’ono had been incarcerated at a maximum-security prison for the past 17 days, accused of breaching his previous bail conditions by tweeting about the possible court outcome of a highly controversial gold-trafficking scandal.

Justice Tawanda Chitapi overturned a lower court’s ruling which had denied him bail, saying the magistrate had “erred” and “misdirected herself in denying the applicant bail on grounds that he had the propensity to re-offend”.

Under the new bail terms, Chin’ono has been barred from using his Twitter account to post anything that amounts to defeating the course of justice.

The 49-year-old was previously arrested in July on charges of inciting public violence ahead of planned anti-government protests, but was freed on bail in September.

His latest detention was linked to the arrest of miners federation boss Henrietta Rushwaya.

She was arrested at Harare Airport on October 26 as she was about to board a flight to Dubai with six kilogrammes (13 pounds) of gold in her hand luggage.

Chin’ono tweeted that he had learnt from prosecutors that the politically connected Rushwaya would be granted bail, an act which the state said had jeopardised “the integrity of the case”.

Praised for his investigative journalism, Chin’ono helped expose a multimillion-dollar scandal involving the procurement of coronavirus supplies in May.

100 Pupils Test Positive For COVID-19 In Zimbabwe School

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 1, 2020 a health professional works at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ward where patients infected with the COVID-19 novel coronavirus are being treated (Photo by Douglas MAGNO / AFP)

 

A hundred students at a high school in northwestern Zimbabwe have tested positive for coronavirus, the government said Tuesday, raising fears of a new wave of the respiratory infection.

“A total of 100 pupils have tested positive for Covid-19 at… John Tallach boarding secondary school in Matabeleland North,” government spokesman Nick Mangwana said on Twitter.

He did not specify when the tests were conducted, but said the school, which has more than 600 students, “has since been sealed off, with no-one allowed in or out.”

Zimbabwe has so far recorded 8,897 cases of coronavirus, including 257 deaths, far fewer than in neighbouring South Africa, which has notched up more than 750,000 cases with 20,314 fatalities.

Closed in March under measures to limit the spread of the virus, Zimbabwean schools have been gradually re-opening since September after new cases began to decline.

 

AFP

Zimbabwe Teachers Strike As Schools Reopen After Virus Shutdown

At Least 31 Dead As Cyclone Idai Hits Eastern Zimbabwe

 

 

Hundreds of Zimbabwean teachers demanding better pay stayed at home on Monday, as schools reopened after six months of coronavirus restrictions.

At the Warren Park High School in a western working-class suburb of Harare, dozens of students waited for their teachers in vain at an unfinished school building.

Some wore face masks. A 20-litre bucket of hand sanitiser was placed at the school entrance.

At another government school in the upper-class Avondale district, no teachers were in sight and primary pupils played outside classrooms.

Teachers “did not turn up for duty,” Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of one of the country’s largest unions, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, told AFP.

Majongwe said teachers battle to “survive” and that they can’t even afford to send their own children to school.

Teachers’ salaries, he said, have been heavily eroded by inflation — which stands at over 700 percent — to an average equivalent of $40 a month, down from $550 in October 2018.

“Forty dollars is an insult. Teachers have lost their ranking in society. It’s actually an insult to be a teacher. It’s a curse,” he said.

Zimbabwe is being buffeted by its worst economic crisis in over a decade and is grappling with hyperinflation.

AFP

Zimbabwe Finds 10 More Dead Elephants, Suspects Bacteria

Zimbabwe is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.
Zimbabwe is home to vast gold and mineral reserves, including diamonds and platinum.

 

Zimbabwe wildlife authorities on Thursday said they suspect ten more elephants succumbed to a bacterial infection that killed 12 young pachyderms last week.

The latest carcasses were discovered on Tuesday and Wednesday near the northwestern Pandamasuwe Forest, where the previous 12 were found.

“We now have a total of 22 elephants that have died,” parks and wildlife authority spokesman Tinashe Farawo told AFP on Thursday.

“We have taken samples for testing but we suspect they died from the same cause as the 12 that were found dead last week.”

Laboratory results suggest the first dozen — discovered between Hwange National Park and the resort town of Victoria Falls — were killed by a bacteria.

Park authorities believe the elephants, aged between two and six, were too short to eat leaves from treetops and may have ingested the bacteria by grazing on infected plants.

They ruled out poaching because the animals were found with their tusks intact.

Zimbabwe has more than 84,000 elephants. Scores of elephants have succumbed to starvation and lack of water in recent years.

Others have been poisoned by poachers for their ivory, used to make ornaments and traditional medicine in Asia and the Middle East.

At least 300 elephants died of cyanide poisoning at water holes in Hwange in 2013.

Neighbouring Botswana, home to the world’s largest elephant population of around 130,000, lost around 300 elephants early this year. They are thought to have succumbed to natural toxins.

AFP

Zimbabwe Govt Denies Crisis As Inflation Jumps To 840 Percent

A South African police member grabs a protestor during their picket against the government of Zimbabwe’s alleged state corruption, media freedom and the deteriorating economy outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria on August 7, 2020. (Photo by Phill Magakoe / AFP)

 

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate soared to almost 840 percent in July, the statistics agency said Saturday, adding to the country’s desperate economic woes even as the government refused to acknowledge a growing sense of crisis.

The southern African nation has been grappling with more than a decade of hyperinflation triggered by economic mismanagement under former president Robert Mugabe, who was ousted by a military coup in 2017.

Many Zimbabweans have seen their savings evaporate and still struggle to afford basic commodities such as sugar and the staple cornmeal, with corruption and poverty rife.

The figures were published shortly after a government statement was issued saying that President Emmerson Mnangagwa had implemented policies “that result in a robust economy” and had kept the country “commendably stable”, denying any crisis.

The July inflation rate of 837.53 percent, which was announced by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency on Twitter, compares with 737.3 percent in June.

Month-on-month, inflation stood at 35.53 percent in July, up from 31.66 percent in June.

The government statement — published by the state-owned Herald newspaper — was a response to a letter by Zimbabwe’s Catholic Bishops on Friday that deplored a recent crackdown on dissent by Mnangagwa’s administration and a deepening crisis in the country.

Last month, the authorities banned protests planned by an opposition politician and deployed the army and riot police in huge numbers to quell them.

Opposition figure Jacob Ngarivhume, who had called for the July 31 protests against alleged state corruption and worsening economic troubles, was arrested 12 days ahead of the strike.

Journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono was also detained. They both remain in custody after being denied bail.

More than a dozen protesters, including award-winning author Tsitsi Dangarembga, were arrested on July 31 and later freed on bail. All have been charged with inciting public violence.

– ‘Multi-layered crisis’ –
The bishops described the clampdown as “unprecedented” and weighed in on the ongoing crisis, which the government has repeatedly denied.

They said the “struggle in Zimbabwe” resulted “in a multi-layered crisis of the convergence of economic collapse, deepening poverty, food insecurity, corruption and human rights abuses”.

Government spokesman Nick Mangwana accused the bishops of joining the “bandwagon of individuals and entities” seeking to invent crises for political gains.

“Government reiterates that Zimbabwe, like most countries in the world is currently grappling with challenges attendant to illegal sanctions, drought and the coronavirus pandemic,” Mangwana said, quoted by The Herald. “There is no ‘crisis’, political or otherwise.”

The United States slapped sanctions on Zimbabwean businessman and political operator Kudakwashe Tagwirei days after the July 31 crackdown, calling him “notoriously corrupt”.

The sanctions were issued to commemorate the two-year anniversary of a violent army-led suppression of protests over alleged election fraud, in which at least six people were killed.

 

 

-AFP

South African Police Clash With Protesters At Zimbabwe Embassy


South African police fire rubber bullets to disperse protestors during their picket against the government of Zimbabwe’s alleged state corruption, media freedom and the deteriorating economy outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in Pretoria on August 7, 2020. Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

 

South African police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse dozens of protesters outside the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria on Friday, an AFP photographer said.

Close to 100 mainly Zimbabwean migrants in South Africa gathered to protest economic hardship and a recent crackdown on dissent and political opposition back home.

Earlier this week Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa vowed to “flush out” critics who he described as “dark forces” and “terrorists” after the authorities thwarted anti-government protests.

 

Protestors stand in front of a moving South African police vehicle stand near the entrance to the Zimbabwean Embassy during a picket against the government of Zimbabwe’s alleged state corruption, media freedom and the deteriorating in Pretoria on August 7, 2020. Phill Magakoe / AFP

 

On Friday police were seen pushing and shoving the protesters from the front of the Zimbabwean embassy building, situated in a leafy Pretoria suburb not far from the Union Buildings, the seat of South Africa’s government.

Drapped in their county’s national flag, protesters waved placards, some reading “Mnangagwa: You are going to The Hague! Murderer! Thief!”

 

Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during his inauguration as South African President, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, on May 25, 2019.
File photo: Cyril Ramaphosa delivers a speech during his inauguration as South African President, at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria, on May 25, 2019.

 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday said he had appointed two special envoys to go to Harare “following recent reports of difficulties that the Republic of Zimbabwe is experiencing”.

Mnangagwa took over from longtime ruler Robert Mugabe after a coup in November 2017 and many Zimbabweans complain that the country’s situation has only gotten worse since.

 

 

The Zimbabwean government has dismissed allegations of rights abuses and a crisis in the country as “false”.

“There is no crisis or implosion in Zimbabwe. Neither has there been any abductions or ‘war’ on citizens,” government spokesman Nick Mangwana said in a statement.

AFP

Author Arrested In Zimbabwe During Banned Protest

Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga holds a placard during an anti-corruption protest march along Borrowdale road, on July 31, 2020 in Harare. ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP
Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga holds a placard during an anti-corruption protest march along Borrowdale road, on July 31, 2020 in Harare. ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP

 

Police in Zimbabwe on Friday arrested internationally-acclaimed novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga as they enforced a ban on protests coinciding with the anniversary of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s election.

Dangarembga, 61, was taken away in a police truck as she demonstrated in the upmarket Harare suburb of Borrowdale alongside another protester, an AFP photographer saw.

Streets in the centre of the city were largely deserted as police and soldiers set up checkpoints to prevent entry.

Opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume, head of a small party called Transform Zimbabwe, had called for demonstrations against alleged state corruption and the country’s slumping economy

The protests were timed to coincide with the second anniversary of Mnangagwa’s election, which the opposition says was a fraud.

But most people stayed at home after police on Thursday issued a ban and warned of a tough response.

“All security arms of government are on full alert and will deal decisively with any individuals or groups fomenting violence,” it warned.

There were more checkpoints and roadblocks than usual on roads leading to the centre of the capital, manned by police and soldiers.

In the central business district, police carrying batons or riot shields were heavily deployed, an AFP journalist saw.

Novelist arrested

In the suburbs, only a handful of people appeared to brave the ban.

An AFP photographer saw Dangarembga and a fellow protester, Julie Barnes, hauled into a truck full of police armed with AK-47 rifles and riot gear.

Shortly afterwards, she tweeted: “Arrested! At Borrowdale. Ope it will be OK”. She also tweeted a photo of herself and Barnes, sitting on the floor at a police station.

Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga (C) and a colleague Julie Barnes hold placards as they are arrested during an anti-corruption protest march along Borrowdale road, on July 31, 2020 in Harare. ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP
Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga (C) and a colleague Julie Barnes hold placards as they are arrested during an anti-corruption protest march along Borrowdale road, on July 31, 2020 in Harare. ZINYANGE AUNTONY / AFP

 

She had been carrying placards calling for reforms and the release of Hopewell Chin’ono, a prominent journalist arrested last week under a government crackdown.

Minutes before her arrest, she told AFP: “It seems that there has been a big reaction by the authorities to this protest.

“They declared it illegal — I’m not quite sure (why), apart from the fact that they don’t want it…Our constitution gives Zimbabweans the right to demonstrate peacefully and that’s what we are doing.”

The Cambridge-educated author is the only Zimbabwean woman writer to win the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and has often been praised for speaking out on women’s issues.

She leapt to prominence in 1988 with “Nervous Conditions”, a coming-of-age story about a girl’s battle to escape poverty and gain an education. The book became an instant classic.

Her arrest came days after her latest novel, “This Mournable Body,” entered the long list for the Booker Prize.

In a statement, police confirmed she had been arrested “for trying to incite the public to engage in illegal demonstrations while carrying placards written various political messages meant to cause public disorder.”

Among several others arrested Friday was Fadzayi Mahere, a lawyer and spokeswoman for the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance.

Mahere live-streamed via Facebook images of riot police scaling metal barriers into a suburban eatery where she had retreated after her protest, and arrested her.

The British ambassador in Harare, Melanie Robinson tweeted: “Very concerned about reports of abductions, arrests and threats targeting those exercising constitutional rights. Freedom of expression is vital even in times of COVID19, with social distancing observed”.

Poverty and hunger

The government had denounced the protests, calling them an “insurrection”.

Ruling ZANU-PF spokesman Patrick Chinamasa earlier this week claimed that US ambassador Brian Nicholls was sponsoring the protests and called him “a thug”.

Zimbabwe'S President Emmerson Mnangagwa wears a protective face shield and facemask as he delivers a speech during the burial ceremony of Zimbabwe's agriculture minister Perrance Shiri at the National Heroes Acre on July 31 2020. Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP
Zimbabwe’S President Emmerson Mnangagwa wears a protective face shield and facemask as he delivers a speech on July 31, 2020. Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

 

Mnangagwa took over from longtime ruler Robert Mugabe after a coup in November 2017.

But hopes among many that he would end Mugabe’s disastrous economic slump have been dashed, and many Zimbabweans say they are worse off than before.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) says some 8.6 million Zimbabweans, or 60 percent of the population, will require food aid as a result of a drought, economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The country has recorded 3,092 virus cases including 53 deaths.

 

 

AFP

Zimbabwe Minister Shiri Died Of Coronavirus, Says President

In this file photograph taken on December 4, 2017, former Zimbawean air force commander Perrance Shiri (L), who was appointed Lands and Agriculture minister, takes his oath of office in a new cabinet at State House in Harare. AFP

 

 

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister Perrance Shiri, a retired general who commanded an army unit accused of a notorious massacre in the 1980s, succumbed to coronavirus, the president said on Thursday.

Shiri, who was also involved in the ouster of longtime ruler Robert Mugabe in a 2017 coup, died on Wednesday aged 65.

The state-owned daily The Herald said President Emmerson Mnangagwa told mourners “it is confirmed that Minister Shiri died of COVID-19”.

Local independent media had said Wednesday that Shiri had been quarantined at a private hospital after he was exposed to coronavirus by his driver, who reportedly died at the weekend.

 

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks during the Defence Forces Day celebrations held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on August 14, 2018. Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa speaks during the Defence Forces Day celebrations held at the National Sports Stadium in Harare on August 14, 2018. Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

 

 

Shiri became Zimbabwe’s first high-profile personality to die from the virus that is fast spreading in the country, which has a weak health system.

Zimbabwe has 2,879 confirmed virus cases, including 41 deaths.

Shiri was commander of an elite North Korean-trained unit, the Fifth Brigade, that cracked down on a revolt in the western province of Matabeleland in the newly independent Zimbabwe.

Known as the Gukurahundi massacres, the operation claimed some 20,000 lives, according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, a figure supported by Amnesty International.

Shiri served for years as commander of the air force before taking up a post as land and agriculture minister under Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe.

AFP

Zimbabwean Minister In Gukurahundi Massacre Dies At 65

In this file photograph taken on December 4, 2017, former Zimbawean air force commander Perrance Shiri (L), who was appointed Lands and Agriculture minister, takes his oath of office in a new cabinet at State House in Harare. Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

 

 

Zimbabwe’s agriculture minister, Perrance Shiri, an ex-airforce commander who headed an army unit accused of a notorious massacre in early 1980s, died on Wednesday aged 65, the government said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who made the announcement, paid tribute to Shiri as a “true patriot” but gave no details about the cause of the death.

Shiri was commander of an elite North-Korean trained unit, the Fifth Brigade, that cracked down on a revolt in the western province of Matabeleland province in the newly-independent Zimbabwe.

Known as the Gukurahundi Massacre, the bloodbath claimed some 20,000 lives, according to the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, a figure suported by Amnesty International.

Mnangagwa was state security minister at the time.

Shiri served for years as commander of the airforce before taking up a post as land and agriculture minister under Mnangagwa after a coup that ousted longtime ruler Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Mnangagwa described Shiri as “a long time friend and colleague… a true patriot, who devoted his life to the liberation, independence and service of his country.”

According to an independent daily, NewsDay, Shiri had been quarantined at a private hospital after he was said to have been exposed to coronavirus virus by his driver, who died at the weekend.

Critics took to social media to vent their emotions.

“It’s tragic that Shiri has departed without facing justice over the Gukurahundi atrocities he committed in Matabeleland and Midlands Provinces in the 1980s nor telling the truth about those atrocities to help heal the nation. May God rest Shiri’s victims in eternal peace,” tweeted exiled former minister Jonathan Moyo, who served under Mugabe.

AFP

Zimbabwe Court Bars Money Laundering Probe Of Telecoms Giant

Zimbabwe court bars money-laundering probe of telecoms giant

 

Zimbabwe’s High Court on Wednesday ruled in favour of the country’s top telecoms operator Econet Wireless and revoked a search warrant issued by the police over allegations of money laundering, the company spokesperson said.

Police issued the warrant last week as part of an investigation into suspected money laundering by the operator.

Investigators wanted Econet to disclose the details of its more than 10 million subscribers and records of all transactions conducted within the first half of 2020.

Company spokesman Fungai Mandiveyi confirmed local media reports that the warrant had been suspended by High Court Judge Justice Edith Mushore.

“I can confirm the development but will be able to comment on it after receiving full judgement,” Mandiveyi told AFP.

Econet filed papers to the High Court on Monday in which it called the warrant “unlawful” and a “violation of… privacy”.

It has denied all accusations of money laundering.

Zimbabwean state officials have blamed mobile money transfer platforms for galloping inflation that has wiped out savings and rendered basic goods unaffordable to most.

Last month, the government abruptly suspended mobile money transactions provided by telephone operators — the most widely used platform to make and receive payments in the crisis-ridden southern African country.

The services continued for daily individual transactions but were capped for commercial transactions.

The government also suspended trade on the country’s stock exchange, which it accused of being complicit in illicit financial activities.

Mobile money payments account for most electronic payment transactions in Zimbabwe, which is critically short of bank notes.

 

 

-AFP

Zimbabwe Introduces Curfew As Coronavirus Infections Spike

Zimbabwe President and candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa stands after casting his ballot at Sherwood Primary School in Kwekwe on July 30 2018, during Zimbabwe’s 2018 general elections to elect the president and members of Parliament. (File Photo)
Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP

 

 

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday imposed a curfew and reinstated strict measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus following a spike in cases in recent weeks.

The number of cases recorded in the southern African country, whose health system has been tottering from years of neglect, rose by nearly a third over the past week to a total 1,713 cases.

The number of deaths climbed from 18 to 26.

“We can no longer be complacent and that requires urgent and decisive measures,” Mnangagwa said during a national address.

“These urgent and necessary measures will entail curtailing the freedoms we have always enjoyed and grown accustomed to.”

Starting Wednesday, security forces will enforce a dusk-to-dawn curfew between 6:00 pm and 6:00 am.

Mnangagwa said “all non-working” people will be required to stay at home and may only go out to buy groceries and seek health care.

Travel between cities and gatherings of more than 50 people for social, religious and political reasons remained banned.

Mnangagwa initially imposed a 21-day lockdown on March 30, banning large gatherings and ordering most businesses to close except food shops in a move aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

In May he relaxed the restrictions, allowing large corporations to open but under strict conditions to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.

The latest measures effectively ban a protest organised by opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume against state corruption and worsening economic troubles.

The nationwide protests had been slated for July 31.

Police arrested Ngarivhume along with prominent investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono.

Chin’ono had lately been writing about alleged corruption involving funds earmarked for anti-coronavirus supplies in what was dubbed “Covidgate”.

They were both charged with incitement to commit public violence.