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Monday, March 1, 2021

Zimbabwe police intensifies crackdown on journalists, opposition, scores arrested

Zimbabwean police has intensified crackdown on opposing voices in the wake of opposition defiance to embark on protest over corruptions in the President Mnangagwa led Zanu-PF government.

Scores of protesters were arrested Friday including the award-winning Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga for taking part in the anti-government protests.

Dangarembga, 61, was bundled into a police truck as she protested on a road in Harare’s upmarket suburb of Borrowdale alongside another protester, carrying placards.

An AFP photographer saw them bundled into a truck full of police armed with AK-47 rifles and riot gear.

Authorities have outlawed the demonstrations, which target alleged state corruption and the country’s slumping economy.

They coincide with the second anniversary of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s disputed election

Dangaremgba’s husband, Olaf Koschke, confirmed the arrest to AFP.

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

On Thursday, police officers ransacked the home of journalist and ZimLive editor Mduduzi Mathuthu during a raid in Bulawayo on Thursday, according to reports.

MISA Zimbabwe reported that police stormed Mathuthu’s Bulawayo home, looking for information on “subversive materials” linked to a planned protest against government corruption.

After the search, police said they found a pellet gun, 100 pellets, HP laptop, 2 flyers and 2 masks inscribed ‘Zanu PF Must Go’. Those so-called flyers planted obviously, never seen them with my naked eye. Anyway, I’m ready for the rope ???? Mduduzi Mathuthu tweeted.

In their warrant of search and seizure, police said they were looking for equipment and any subversive materials which were reportedly meant to be used in “illegal” demonstrations planned for Friday, 31 July.

According to MISA Zimbabwe, police accused Mathuthu of “organising and advocating for the demonstrations”, using his mobile phone.

Mathuthu wasn’t home at the time, but one journalist outside the house and witnessed the raid.

His sister, Nomagugu, was taken into custody instead and detained at the Bulawayo police station.

Mathuthu later tweeted that his sister had been released from police custody after the assistance of a lawyer employed by MISA.

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