Zimbabwe on edge as anti-gov’t protests loom

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe)

The Zimbabwean government on Thursday beefed up security around the capital Harare amid tensions ahead of Friday’s planned street protests to demonstrate against rising corruption and a worsening economic crisis.

Soldiers and police officers mounted roadblocks on all major roads leading to Harare’s central business district and turned away people without proof that they are essential service providers.

Only those with government identity cards or are employed in the health, financial services and media sectors were allowed to proceed to the city centre.

The protests have been called by the opposition and political activists who accuse President Emmerson Mnangagwa of protecting corrupt officials and of overseeing the rapid decline of the country’s economy since coming to power with support from the military in November 2017.

Two of the masterminds of the protest, journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and politician Jacob Ngarivhume, were arrested last week on charges of seeking to remove Mnangagwa from power through violent means.

The security alert comes in the wake of threats by Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU PF in the past few days that law enforcement agents would come hard on anyone who takes to the street during the protest.

ZANU PF has gone on to accuse the United States of being behind the planned protests, and has threatened to kick US ambassador Brian Nichols out.


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