Zimbabwe: President Mnangagwa issues warning to critics


ZIMBABWE’S PRESIDENT has pledged to “flush out” those seeking to “divide” the country as anger over corruption and human rights violations grow.

Dozens of people have been arrested and detained in the past few weeks over protests against government officials and corruption.

Speaking on Tuesday, Emmerson Mnangagwa accused who he referred to as “rogue Zimbabweans” of working together with foreign detractors to destabilise Zimbabwe.

“We will overcome attempts at destabilisation of our society by a few rogue Zimbabweans acting in league with foreign detractors,” Mnangagwa said.

He added: “Those who promote hate and disharmony will never win. The bad apples that have attempted to divide our people and to weaken our systems will be flushed out. Good shall triumph over evil.”

Call for unity

During his speech, Mnangagwa called on Zimbabweans to unite and work together in order to achieve prosperity.

Inflation in Zimbabwe is more than 700 per cent and last month the World Food Programme projected that by the end of the year 60 per cent of the country’s population will lack reliable access to sufficient food.

He also made reference to the conduct of public officials and security forces.

He said: “In all circumstances public officials and the security services will carry out their duties with appropriate astuteness and resolve. The protection of the right to life is paramount, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and machinations by the destructive terrorist opposition groupings.”

Footage of violence carried out by security forces and the detaining of opposition politicians and government critics has drawn international condemnation.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter call to action, Zimbabweans have expressed their thoughts and demands for actions on social media using the hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.


More than 20 people have been arrested since last week, the BBC reported. Among those arrested and detained are journalists, opposition politicians and the Booker-longlisted author Tsitsi Dangarembga. Dangarembga, who was arrested while taking part in protests, has now been released on bail.

Investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was arrested on 20 July. He has been charged with inciting public violence. He remains in custody awaiting a ruling on his bail that is due Thursday.

In May, three female members of the main opposition party were arrested over their participation in a protest. They have since been released on bail.


The UN Human Rights Council is among those expressing concern about claims the authorities in Zimbabwe are using the COVID-19 outbreak to crackdown on freedom of expression and peaceful protest.

“While recognising the government’s efforts to contain the pandemic”, the OHCHR spokesperson said, “it is important to remind the authorities that any lockdown measures and restrictions should be necessary, proportionate and time-limited, and enforced humanely without resorting to unnecessary or excessive force”.

Amnesty International said in a statement released last week that a number of activists had gone into hiding after police published a list of names of those wanted for questioning in connection with the planned protests. 

Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa, said: “The brutal assault on political activists and human rights defenders who have had the courage to call out alleged corruption and demand accountability from their government is intensifying. The persecution of these activists is a blatant abuse of the criminal justice system and mockery of justice.”