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Zimbabwe to stage protests against state corruption and economic crisis


Zimbabwe to stage protests against state corruption and economic crisis

Zimbabwe Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Planned opposition protests will likely take place in Harare today as discontent rises over record unemployment and government corruption.

The demonstrations are set to be spearheaded by Jacob Ngarivhume, the leader of the opposition party Transformation Zimbabwe, alongside members of the MDC Alliance electoral bloc. Political tensions have soared in parallel with inflation—which has risen above 700%—as President Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to deliver on his promise to revive the economy after seizing power in a 2017 coup.

Mnangagwa and his ruling ZANU-PF party have rejected predictions of an economic implosion by his political rivals and blamed the unrest on foreign interference. The government has intensified a recent string of arrests of its domestic critics, detaining the country’s most prominent investigative journalist last week. Furthermore, the government’s imposition of an indefinite dawn-to-dusk curfew—set on the grounds of rising COVID-19 cases—has drawn criticism from civil rights groups that accuse the government of suppressing dissent.

As prices skyrocket and millions in Zimbabwe face acute shortages of basic supplies, expect today’s protests to lead to violent confrontations between activists and state security agents. The looming health and economic crisis is likely to fuel continued opposition to Mnangagwa’s government; given reports of armed soldiers and anti-riot police patrolling the streets ahead of the planned protests, further escalation of violence is likely.

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