The #ZimbabweanLivesMatter social movement has continued to gain momentum with celebrities including rappers, AKA, Ice Cube, actresses Pearl Thusi, and Thandie Newton joining in to call for an end to the human rights abuses in the Southern African country.
Former President of Botswana, Ian Khama also joined the campaign. In a Facebook post, he called on his followers to pray for Zimbabweans as “the situation is deteriorating every day”
Opposition party Movment for Democratic Change reported that 30 of its members had fled their homes due to government clampdown on the opposition.
“We have so far drawn a list of 30 cadres who are no longer living at their homes for fear of being abducted, tortured or detained,” the party said in a tweet. “Some are contemplating moving their children to safer places, while others are bogged down with repairs to damaged premises.”
Another opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume of Transform Zimbabwe was among those who called for nationwide protests.
The duo have been denied bail and transferred to the Chikurubi maximum-security prison, notorious for holding political prisoners.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), both men were strip-searched and bound in leg chains before being transferred late on Friday.
Officials also denied Chin’ono and Ngarivhume food as they could not eat the prison-recommended diet for health reasons, according to ZLHR
“The blatant and malicious stripping away of the two prisoners’ basic rights including the right to give instructions to lawyers of their choice in private is unconstitutional. The harsh treatment of Chin’ono and Ngarivhume undermines the presumption of innocence,” it said in a statement.
Human Rights Watch’s southern Africa director called on the African Union (AU) and regional bloc, Southern African Development Community (SADC) to lend their voices in holding President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government accountable.
“SADC and the African Union should call out Zimbabwe’s government for its repression and rampant abuses throughout the country,” he said in a statement. “It’s important for these regional institutions to send strong signals to the Mnangagwa administration that flagrant violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other human rights treaties are unacceptable.”
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa who is also AU chairperson announced Thursday that a special envoy will be sent to Zimbabwe.
The envoy, consisting of former Provincial and Local Government Minister, Dr. Sydney Mufamadi, and former Deputy President, Baleka Mbete will engage the government “on possible ways in which South Africa can assist Zimbabwe.”