News Briefs 24 January 2019

Democratic Republic of Congo

Tshisekedi Declared Congo’s President, but Runner-Up Revolts

Congo’s election crisis deepened early Sunday when the Constitutional Court confirmed the win of Felix Tshisekedi, rejecting claims of fraud, and runner-up Martin Fayulu promptly declared himself the country’s “only legitimate president.”

Fayulu’s supporters have alleged an extraordinary backroom deal by outgoing President Joseph Kabila to rig the vote in favor of the opposition after the ruling party’s candidate did so poorly that a Plan B was needed. Neither side has acknowledged the accusations.

The court, however, said Fayulu offered no proof to back his assertions that he had won easily based on leaked data attributed to the electoral commission.

Voice of America

DRC presidential inauguration set for Thursday

Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi will be sworn in on Thursday as Democratic Republic of Congo’s next president, sources said in Kinshasa, ending uncertainty about when the ceremony would take place.

The inauguration will take place at the Palace of the Nation, the seat of the presidency, starting at noon (1100 GMT), aides to Tshisekedi and outgoing President Joseph Kabila said on Wednesday.

It will be the first peaceful transition of power in the history of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

Tshisekedi, 55, will be taking the helm from Kabila who at only 47 has ruled the vast country for 18 years, succeeding his father Laurent-Desire, who was assassinated in 2001.

News24

Somalia

Somalia declares UN envoy persona non grata

Somalia’s government has ordered the United Nations envoy to the country to leave, amid questions over the arrest of the al-Shabab extremist group’s former deputy leader who had run for a regional presidency.

A foreign ministry statement late Tuesday accuses Nicholas Haysom of diplomatic overreach that violated the Horn of Africa nation’s sovereignty, declaring him “persona non grata.” He arrived as envoy a few months ago.

Haysom had questioned the legal basis used in the arrest last month of Mukhtar Robow, a former al-Shabab spokesman who defected from the group in 2017, and whether U.N.-funded regional police in the Southwest were involved.

 

Ethiopian troops who are part of the African Union force in Somalia and Somali police arrested Robow days before the regional election in which Robow had been a leading candidate. Deadly protests followed. Ethiopia has not commented.

Associated Press

Ex-Somalia President Sheikh Sharif sets eye on Presidency

Sheikh Sharif served as the Head of State in 2009-11. He said the inability of the current leadership to restore peace and security in the Horn of Africa country has compelled him to make a come-back to politics.

Speaking during an interview with The Standard, the ex-President said during his tenure he successfully waged a war against Al Shabaab militants, noting that after he left office, the members of the extremist group made a resurgence.

“When I was the President, we managed to restore security in Somalia. We brought back peace and the country was united.”

Sheikh Sharif spoke a week after the 14 Riverside Drive terror attack, explaining that if he is elected to office, he will lobby the international community to strengthen the capacity of his country’s security forces.

Standard Media

Central African Republic

Central African Republic’s warring factions to hold peace talks

Mediated by the African Union, the Central African Republic (CAR) government will hold peace talks with 14 militia groups today in Khartoum, Sudan.

Frustrated by the CAR’s high unemployment, a 37% literacy rate and a corrupt ruling class, Islamic militias toppled CAR President Francois Bozize six years ago. Since then, sectarian human rights violations led by Christian and Muslim militias has engulfed the country.

Under pressure from human rights groups, the government is unlikely to concede to the militias’ demands for amnesty.

With 80% of CAR controlled by militias competing for its wealth of gold, uranium and diamonds, 1.2 million people have either fled the country or are internally displaced. Just this month Muslim militias invaded Bakouma, a uranium-rich town, burning 90% of homes. Instead of CAR’s natural resources offering economic opportunity for African countries, the country presents a huge refugee burden, especially for neighbouring Chad.

Foreign Brief

Aid group warns of Central African Republic ‘catastrophe’

The leader of an international aid group says Central African Republic “is steering toward a catastrophe” unless a new round of peace talks in Sudan this week succeed.

 

Jan Egeland, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s secretary general, says repeated cycles of violence in one of the world’s poorest nations “have pushed people*s resistance to breaking point.”

Egeland said on Wednesday in a statement that a majority of Central African Republic’s 2.9 million people “urgently need humanitarian support.”

The country has faced interreligious and intercommunal fighting since 2013, and violence has intensified and spread in recent months.

News24

Sudan

Sudan’s al-Bashir returns from Qatar without immediate pledge of financial support

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Wednesday ended a two-day visit to Qatar, during which he briefed the Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani about the challenges facing his government.

Al-Bashir who is facing nationwide protests that began on 19 December arrived in Doha Tuesday hoping to receive financial support for his government.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Qatari Emiri Diwan said the meeting discussed various developments in Sudan, and that the Emir was briefed on the latest developments and challenges facing Sudan.

“The Emir affirmed Qatar’s firm stance on Sudan’s unity and stability,” said the statement without speaking about an immediate pledge of financial support to the visiting president.

Sudan Tribune

Omar al-Bashir launches media crackdown as Sudan protests continue

The government of Omar al-Bashir in Sudan has launched an “alarming” crackdown on journalists covering weeks of protests against the regime.

At least five reporters have been detained by the national intelligence security services and are being held at undisclosed locations. Dozens of others have been arrested and held before being released.

Khartoum has also revoked the work permits of correspondents working for two Arab-language regional news networks preventing them from working in the country.

“We expect the blackout to get worse and more violations by the authorities against the media as the protests continue,” said Khalid Ahmed of the Sudanese Journalists’ Network.

The Guardian

South Sudan

South Sudan pursues fragile peace, but people remain wary

South Sudan opposition commander Moses Lokujo flipped through his notes, explaining international humanitarian law to an attentive group of senior officers.

“Soldiers are not supposed to kill someone who’s not an enemy,” he said. “And if a civilian is walking with a goat it doesn’t mean you can steal it just because you have a gun.”

Just months ago, such training seemed implausible in a country that was embroiled in a five-year civil war that killed almost 400 000 people and displaced millions. Since a fragile peace deal was signed in September, however, South Sudan’s previously warring parties have been trying to rebuild trust in some of the areas hardest-hit by the war.

On a trip this month to government and opposition-held territories in Kajo Keji in Central Equatoria state, The Associated Press met with both sides who said the reconciliation of former rivals President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar was the reason peace efforts appear to be working on the ground.

News24

JMEC urges South Sudan peace partners to accelerate implementation of security arrangements

The unification of armed forces will be “a decisive milestone” for the implementation of the revitalized peace agreement said the acting head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) who called to speed up the process.

During the past four months, the signatories of the revitalized peace pact made little progress on the implementation of the security arrangements. The discussions were mainly focusing on troops cantonment, their sustainment and the subsequent reintegration.

Since the signing of the peace agreement, experts and military observers warned many points related to these three aspects were flawed and require more discussion during the implementation phase.

Also, the lack of funding becomes an additional challenge because the unification process is costly and require a lot of money.

Sudan Tribune

Western Sahara

OOTT and Abroad Communities Ministry slams Moroccan authorities repression against Sahrawi masses in the occupied parts of Western Sahara

The Ministry of the Occupied Territories and Abroad Communities has strongly criticized  of the Moroccan authorities’ repression and harassment against the Sahrawi people  the occupied parts of Western Sahara, in communiqué issued by it  on the horizon of theThe King of Spain’s upcoming visit to Morocco, a copy of which obtained by SPS

“The ministry expressed vigorous condemnation of the Moroccan occupation authority’s repression, harassment and siege of the masses of our people in the occupied territories and southern Morocco and Sahrawi political prisoners in Moroccan Jails” the Ministry statement confirms

The communiqué reiterated its strong condemnation of the Spanish government’s complicity with the Moroccan occupation, the last example of which was the handover of the activist Hussein Ould Bechir Ould Brahim to the Moroccan authorities on 17/01/2019.

It appealed all Conscientious people of the organizations and associations of the international community, especially Spanish and French, to reveal the complicity of their governments and their continued support for the Moroccan occupation regime.

Sahara Press Service

Calls to detain vessel carrying fish cargo from disputed Western Sahara

An organisation working to preserve the resources of the occupied Western Sahara has asked the Port of Cape Town to detain a vessel that is due to land in Cape Town on Saturday.

The vessel is alleged to contain about 5,500 tonnes of fish, caught in the exclusive economic zone waters of occupied Western Sahara between December last year and early this year.

The Western Sahara Resource Watch has called for the detention of the vessel. The organisation is relying on a precedent set by the high court in Port Elizabeth in June 2017 and February 2018, following the detention of the vessel NM Cherry Blossom, which carried phosphate rock illegally exported from the Western Sahara when it entered the Port Elizabeth Harbour in May 2017. The phosphate was designated for a company in New Zealand.

TimesLive

Swaziland

Civil Servants In Swaziland Set To Strike Over Salary Hikes

Civil servants in Swaziland are set to go on a countrywide strike on January 28, The international organizer for the Communist Party of Swaziland (CPS), Njabulo Dlamini, said that the main demand of the strike was the a cost of living adjustment (CoLA) of 6.55%, which translates into a salary increment. Workers had gone on strike for the same demand in August/September last year but it was not accepted by the regime of king Mswati. The Public Sector Associations of Swaziland (PSAS) has also released a statement supporting the demand. Employees across all kinds of government offices, ministries, departments, schools, colleges, clinics, hospitals, transport departments and others will be taking part in the national strike. Swaziland is the last remaining absolute monarchy in the sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Dlamini, the percentage of the CoLA is now double that of last year. The CPS, in their statement, accused the autocratic Mswati regime of trying to recently disrupt a teachers’ preparatory meeting by arresting the two leaders. The CPS also reiterated its call for “Maximum Defiance in the Maximum Number of Sites” against the brutal regime of King Mswati, on behalf of the struggling masses of Swaziland, resolving to respond with “direct decisive force” against the oppressive actions of the regime.

News Click

 

 

‘Don’t Join That Strike’

These were the words of the Prime Minister Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini, yesterday as he issued a press statement informing public sector associations (PSAs) not to engage in the strike action scheduled for Monday.

He said partaking in the strike action would be at the expense of the education of pupils and the health of the citizenry.

Instead, he said the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) shall continue to engage unions to encourage them to join the effort to find ways of reducing government expenditures, improving service delivery and improving the economy.

Through Government Press Statement No.1 of 2019, Dlamini expressed concern over the proposed strike action by PSAs.

Times of Swaziland

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe troops accused of ‘systematic torture’ of protesters

A government-appointed human rights group in Zimbabwe has accused soldiers of using “systematic torture” in a crackdown on protests.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission strongly criticised authorities for using troops to quell demonstrations.

Unrest broke out more than a week ago following a sharp rise in fuel prices

A government spokesman defended the crackdown, telling the BBC: “When things get out of hand, a bit of firmness is needed.”

Reports have emerged of assaults allegedly carried out by the military in various parts of the capital, Harare.

News Day

Zim High Court rules internet shutdown illegal, orders govt to restore full internet to the country

Zimbabwe’s High Court has ordered the government to restore full internet to the country. The court ruled that the government’s shutdown of the internet was illegal because the Minister of State for Security, who ordered the internet closure, does not have powers to issue such a directive.

The court said only President Emmerson Mnangagwa has the authority to make such an order.

Zimbabwe’s government closed the internet for much of last week. Over the weekend it restored partial internet, but kept a blackout on social media apps like Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter.

A spokesperson for Zimbabwe’s largest trade union said police have arrested the secretary general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Japhet Moyo.

News24

Africa in General

EU, AU urge DRC leader to unite country after tense polls

The European Union and African Union on Tuesday committed to work closely with Democratic Republic of Congo’s president-elect Felix Tshisekedi, backing off reservations about the disputed vote.

Speaking after a meeting of EU-AU government ministers, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini urged Tshisekedi, the son of the late opposition leader Etienne, to help heal divisions in the turbulent central African country. He faces inauguration on Thursday.

“The task facing the new president contains major challenges, in several sectors, on the security, social, economic and governance levels,” Mogherini told reporters in Brussels. “All of this requires that the president be a unifier; that he engages in a dialogue inside the country as well as abroad.”

News24

Central African Republic war crimes suspect sent to court

A war crime suspects who is also head of Central African Republic’s soccer federation has been sent to the International Criminal Court, where he faces allegations of leading a mainly Christian militia that targeted Muslims in deadly interreligious fighting.

The court says in a statement that Patrice-Edouard Ngaissona was transferred to the court on Wednesday from France, where he was arrested last month on an ICC warrant.

Prosecutors say Ngaissona was the most senior leader of a militia known as anti-Balaka in 2014 when it was accused of crimes including murder and rape of Muslims in fighting that broke out the previous year when predominantly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in the Central African Republic’s capital, Bangui.

News24

Zimbabwe’s civil servants to strike on Friday over salaries

Zimbabwe faces a new wave of unrest as the group representing government workers announced on Wednesday that civil servants across the country will go on strike after salary negotiations failed.

David Dzatsunga, secretary of the Civil Service Apex Council, said the strike by some 500,000 civil servants will begin on Friday as the southern African nation’s economic collapse deepens and frustration with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government grows.

A crackdown on last week’s protests over a sharp rise in fuel prices continued in the courts and on the streets, where witnesses and rights groups reported abuses by the military, police and ruling party youth gangs. Mnangagwa’s call for national dialogue has been met with skepticism.

IOL

 

 

LETTER TO AU CHAIRPERSON REQUESTING URGENT INTERVENTION TO PROTECT PEACEFULLY PROTESTING WORKERS AGAINST ALARMING VIOLENCE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE


Your Excellency,

The African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa www.ituc-africa.org ) calls for your urgent intervention with the Government of Zimbabwe to bring an end to the alarming and dangerous situation faced by the leaders and members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for taking peaceful protest action against steep fuel prices that have worsened an already unbearable high cost of living in the country. The ZCTU called for a three-day ‘Stay Away’ from 14 to 16 January 2019 demanding an end to the economic crisis faced by the country and a reversal of the over 200% increase in fuel prices announced by the government.

On Monday, January 14 2019, police and security forces violently attacked peaceful protesters by opening fire on them, injuring many, with reports of eight killed and over 200 arrested. The fierce crackdown has continued with reports of heavy military and police presence on the streets and security forces arbitrarily assaulting citizens, including entering homes to drag out and beat people in an effort to instill fear and to clampdown on dissent. Furthermore, cell and landline communications, the internet and social media were blocked for two days to prevent access to information.

The Government of Zimbabwe has clearly reneged on its duty to ensure that the country’s social climate is free of violence and fear. It is violently attacking protesters on the streets and individuals in their homes instead of protecting and guaranteeing their safety. Workers have the right to express their views on the government’s economic programs, including through peaceful demonstrations in an atmosphere free of fear, intimidation, coercion, repression and violence.

ITUC-Africa therefore requests your immediate intervention with the Government of Zimbabwe to demand an end to the violation of the right to freedom of association and to call for the safety of all protesters as well as the immediate and unconditional release of those arrested. The government must accept the call of the ZCTU for social dialogue in order to address the economic woes of the country.

We also call for an independent judicial inquiry into the excessive violence against protesters to be instituted without delay in order to punish guilty parties and to prevent the repetition of such rights violations.

Yours sincerely,
Kwasi Adu-Amankwah
General Secretary, ITUC-Africa

Read PDF here: letter to AU chairperson on situation in Zimbabwe

SILENCING OF ZIMBABWEANS DISTURBING – COSATU

Source: https://www.politicsweb.co.za/politics/silencing-of-zimbabweans-disturbing–cosatu

Federation condemns forceful nature in which govt of the country is responding to legitimate protests

COSATU Solidarity Statement against the clampdown on legitimate protests and attempts to silence the growing frustration in Zimbabwe

17 February 2019

The Congress of South African Trade Unions [COSATU] is deeply disturbed and concerned by the blatant disregard for human rights in Zimbabwe, and the level of violence ordinary people are exposed to. This systemic abuse of power and repression against leaders and members of the trade union movement led by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions [ZCTU] as well as the opposition should be condemned.

We condemn the forceful nature in which the government of Zimbabwe is responding, following legitimate and legal protests organised by the ZCTU and its affiliates. We have watched with dismay as the legalised repression unfolds in Zimbabwe.

These protests were organised based on legitimate demands about salaries, fuel price hikes, deteriorating economic situation, living conditions and general affordability of essentials for ordinary Zimbabweans. The Government of Zimbabwe was given the demands with the ultimatum for them to do away with the fuel hike in particular.

We applaud our sister federation the ZCTU in the unwavering determination to represent the working class and poor even in such conditions. The Federation took care to avoid violence by calling for a stay-away protest to avoid violent clashes but, instead of a formal response to their demands the government unleashed the army and the police on people.

In an attempt to cover up the awful and unlawful suppression of human rights by the Zimbabwean Government ,particularly unleashed on the people mainly residing in townships,  the Zimbabwean government suspended the Internet on the 15th January 2019 around 7 am; which was confirmed by Twitter and that the shutdown was as a directive from Zimbabwean Government.

This act clearly was meant to silence the growing frustrated voices and limit communication on the subsequent clampdown today against leaders, workers, and members of the community who are involved in the stay-away since Monday, 14th February 2019.

It is reported that the police and the army have been raiding homes dragging everyone outside, forcing them to go to work and beating them up and also arresting others. It is said no one is spared this humiliation, people as old as 60years old, women included are being dragged from their homes and beaten while others are taken and their whereabouts unknown.

A number of activists have been taken and these include Pastor Evan Mawarira known for the #thisflag campaign and the Organising Secretary of the MDC Alliance, Amos Chibaya one taken by police and the other by soldiers. We call for their immediate release.

It is deplorable that live ammunition has been used on citizens, with more than 27 cases of multiple gunshot wounds and fatalities reported, as well as more than 1600 people reportedly injured and seeking medical care from Doctors without Borders.

Reports from the ground are that the numbers of those who have died since this morning have reached double digits and may increase as people regain the ability to communicate through the internet again.

We call on SADC to stop treating the issue of Zimbabwe lightly, there needs to be a stronger and more sustainable response to normalise the situation in that country, a solution that will include improving the lives of the citizens of that country. Change needs to come urgently.

The Zimbabwe Diaspora has sanctioned a march to the Zimbabwean Embassy on the 26th January 2019 in Pretoria in Solidarity with ZCTU and we call on all to join the march in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum will convene a meeting on 17th January 2019 to develop a formal response to the situation currently unfolding in Zimbabwe and COSATU will be part of this.

COSATU remains resolute as a strong partner of the ZCTU in its struggle for human and trade union rights, social justice, economic and political freedom.

Amandla ZCTU!

Issued by Zanele Matebula, Deputy International Secretary, COSATU, 17 January 2019

Blind eye being turned to the abuse of boys, says report NEWS / 17 JANUARY 2019, 05:15AM / YOLISA TSWANYA

Source: https://www.iol.co.za/capetimes/news/blind-eye-being-turned-to-the-abuse-of-boys-says-report-18844072

Picture: Pixabay

Cape Town – Boys are overlooked when it comes to cases of sexual abuse and exploitation.

This is highlighted in the report “Out of the Shadows: Shining light on the response to child sexual abuse and exploitation”, which was developed by The Economist Intelligence Unit with support from the World Childhood Foundation, the Oak Foundation and the Carlson Family Foundation.

The report found child sexual abuse and exploitation was a pressing concern for countries.

“Girls are the primary victims, and boys are overlooked. Just over half – 21 of the 40 countries – have legal protections for boys within their child rape laws, while only 18 countries collect prevalence data about the sexual abuse of boys. Just five collect prevalence data for boys related to child sexual exploitation.”

While statistics on boys is lacking, the research showed that 120 million boys, globally, had been subjected to some form of sexual abuse.

“The adverse effects of sexual violence in childhood on health and mental well-being carry into adulthood, foreshadowing societal and public health risks that, like abuse itself, remain largely overlooked.”

The study found that boys were barely addressed in some legal frameworks covering sexual violence against children, nor were they the focus of much government attention.

UN deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed said: “Every day, across all countries and levels of society, millions of girls and boys face the alarmingly common childhood experience of sexual abuse and exploitation.”

The report found that South Africa had demonstrated its commitment to tackling sexual violence against children by enacting comprehensive legislation on sexual offences against children.

However, victim support and resources for legal and law enforcement professionals could be strengthened.

“South Africa has a comprehensive system of training and guidance for front line support workers who respond to cases of sexual violence against children.

The Department of Education issues guidelines for teaching professionals, and there are similar programmes for medical, social and psychiatric workers.

“The country, also, provides protections against the procurement of minors for sexual services and the visual depiction of minors engaging in sexual activities, having signed into law the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill in 2013.”

Army, Zanu PF role in protests exposed By Newsday

Source: https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/01/army-zanu-pf-role-in-protests-exposed/

A SERVING top military official and a police officer were yesterday unmasked as leaders of the deadly protests in the Epworth dormitory town, which led to the death of civilians and looting of shops.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE/ XOLISANI NCUBE

Some of the hundreds of protesters arrested over the last three days appear at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts yesterday

This came as more Zanu PF officials were exposed for their riotous role during the three-day mass stayaway organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and social movements to protest the sharp fuel price hikes announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last Saturday.

Lieutenant Morrosi Carnage of Inkomo Mounted Regiment, who was arrested together with other 60 protesters, appeared before Harare magistrate Francis Mapfumo yesterday charged with public violence.

While opposing bail, Epworth police officer-in-charge Peter Mangwende told the court that Carnage was one of the leaders who led the violent protesters from the front.

Mangwende also told court that a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Ignatius Zuze, was also shot while leading the protesters.

However, Zuze could not be located at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, where he was supposed to be under treatment.

Carnage and his 60 alleged accomplices are represented by members of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights — Kossam Ncube, Marufu Mandevere and Nontokhozo Dube-Tachiona.

The lawyers took the State to task after prison doctors failed to treat and examine the suspects, who were severely assaulted by the police and some had visible injury marks.

Mandevere, however, successfully filed for the accused persons to be examined by private doctors, saying the court should have granted the order to have them treated.

“The court cannot just watch. These accused persons were severely assaulted and some have visible injury marks. The suspects cannot lose dignity or human rights because of the arrest. This can happen to anyone. The court needs to maintain the accused person’s rights,” Mandevere said

The defence applied for bail pending trial, but the State opposed, saying they must proceed to trial.

Mapfumo postponed the matter to today for continuation.

Eight other Zanu PF youth leaders have appeared in court facing allegations of public violence and looting after they allegedly burnt a Zupco bus along the Harare-Bulawayo Highway before they looted a shop belonging to Chegutu East MP Webster Shamu (Zanu PF).

Zanu PF Harare provincial youth league boss Godwin Gomwe was on Wednesday night also reportedly assaulted by soldiers for leading a terror group that was attacking suspected MDC supporters in Budiriro as well as participating in looting under the guise of restoring peace.

Yesterday, a subdued Gomwe had promised to discuss the issue with NewsDay later in the evening, as he claimed to be with “certain important people” discussing important matters.

“Can I call you later. I have your mobile number. I am with important people here, talking something very important. I will call in 30 minutes time,” Gomwe said in a hushed tone.
After 30 minutes, Gomwe was not picking up calls. He also did not respond to messages sent to his mobile phone.

But Zanu PF insiders said the youth league boss was leading a gang of 70 youths that went on a rampage in Budiriro and other residential areas, assaulting known MDC supporters, accusing them of having participated in the protests before he unleashed his troops to loot some shops.

“He was using a fleet of 20 unmarked vehicles and he terrorised people, but luck ran out when they were stopped by the military, who wanted to know what they were doing and who had sanctioned their actions. He ignored them and went away. But the soldiers followed him to his residence, where he was assaulted together with members of his gang. He was left at Harare Central Police Station,” a senior Zanu PF official said.

The ruling party and government have blamed the opposition Nelson Chamisa-led MDC for orchestrating violence during the three-day national strike, to force the administration to address the economic decay bedevilling the country.

During the three-day stayaway, junior military officers, who were earlier reportedly moving around high-density suburbs beating up people for participating in the national strike that turned violent, were seen engaging residents, telling them to exercise their right peacefully.

In Dzivarasekwa and Mabvuku, the soldiers ordered residents to stay indoors and exercise their right to stay away peacefully by not barricading roads or attacking each other.

“The suffering you are going through is shared by everyone. But let us not be violent. Don’t barricade the roads, especially with big stones and logs, try something which is not violent. Do the stayaway in peace,” a soldier at Dzivarasekwa 4 said.

“Do whatever you want, we are supporting you, but don’t be violent. We had to beat you because you were being violent. We don’t want violence,” the soldier told the residents.

Earlier in the day, the military had subjected most men in Dzivarasekwa to beatings for allegedly barricading the roads to block traffic from getting into town or offering transport to anyone who wanted to get into town.

In Mabvuku, according to residents, soldiers summoned all men in the neighbourhood after they had clashed with them in the morning for allegedly blocking traffic.

“They told us that they were not against the idea of the stayaway or protests, but barricading of roads and destruction of property. They actually said they sympathised with ordinary citizens,” a resident told NewsDay.

Contacted for comment, Zimbabwe National Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Alphios Makotore requested that written questions be brought to Josiah Magama Tongogara barracks.

STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY ON THE CRACKDOWN ON LEGITIMATE PROTEST IN ZIMBABWE AND THE SILENCING OF ZIMBABWEAN VOICES BY SHUTTING DOWN THE INTERNET 15th January 2019

The Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum is deeply concerned about the escalation of violence in
Zimbabwe. The level of frustration and anger amongst citizens who feel excluded and
alienated by the successive economic and political attacks carried out by the ZANU PF elites has clearly reached a boiling point. The spark of a callous 150% fuel price increase has ignited the fires of years of political manipulation, the failure of elections to provide a legitimate set of leaders, deteriorating economic conditions and the growing sense that the government of Zimbabwe has no interest in the living conditions of ordinary citizens.

The closing down of social media and the restrictions placed on access to the internet, the direct result of collusion between private sector companies like Econet, and the Zimbabwean regime, are utterly unacceptable. This kind of draconian action is normally associated with despotic regimes. The actions by ZANU PF expose the ugly face of a militarised approach to governance and cannot be tolerated. The ZSF calls for the immediate and unconditional lifting of all restrictions on the use of the internet. We remain deeply concerned that this silencing of legitimate voices provides the pretext for state sanctioned violence and even more severe forms of repression.

Read full PDF here: ZSF Statement January 2019 FINAL