Zim govt 'clamps down on dissent' after Covid corruption exposés spark protests
Zimbabwe human rights lawyer Douglas Coltart says the government is willing to do anything to cling onto its power.
The Harare-based activist says recent exposés on Covid-19-related corruption by investigative journalists such as Mduduzi Mathuthu and Hopewell Chin'ono have been a massive flashpoint for unrest in the country.
Chin'ono was arrested two weeks ago on charges of inciting public violence.
Mathuthu's home in Bulawayo was raided by authorities on Thursday ahead of planned demonstrations against the Zim government.
Last week, police warned Zimbabweans not to take part in protests against the corruption linked to Zimbabwe's Covid-19 response.
A number of protesters were arrested in Harare on Friday including award-winning Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga. The novelist was released on bail on Saturday.
Coltart says citizens are being arrested for absurd reasons as part of the government's attempt to silence dissent.
Our hospitals are virtually non-functional. Our doctors and nurses are on strike because they don't have equipment and yet 60 million dollars worth of funds that were to be for Covid-19 were looted by senior government officials implicating even the president and the first family.Douglas Coltart, Human rights lawyer - Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
One gentleman was arrested for simply carrying the Zimbabwean flag which I think epitomises the paranoia of the current regime that is doing everything it can to try and clamp down on any dissent.Douglas Coltart, Human rights lawyer - Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
People are being arrested for utterly absurd things and being denied bail.Douglas Coltart, Human rights lawyer - Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Zim felt like it's on the brink for a very long time. The human rights abuses that we've seen have been there for a long time... but I think there is a feeling at present that things are escalating.Douglas Coltart, Human rights lawyer - Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
It's been building up for decades, in a sense, with a government that refuses to reform; refuses to govern by the consent of the people, and instead uses violence and force.Douglas Coltart, Human rights lawyer - Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
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