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U.S Says Zimbabwe Govt Should Stop Harassing Civil Society Leaders


FILE: A policeman stands guard as some of the people arrested during demonstrations over the hike in fuel prices, make their court appearance at the magistrates courts in Harare, Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019.

The United States says President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government should stop harassing civil society leaders saying such actions tarnish the country’s image.

In a tweet, the U.S Embassy Harare said, “Harassment and targeted arrests of civil society leaders damage Zimbabwe’s reputation & economic future. We call on the Zimbabwean government to uphold its constitution, protect human rights, and foster an environment where all can contribute to the nation’s progress.”

Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa and deputy chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, George Charamba, who is also the presidential spokesperson, were not available for comment.

Mnangagwa recently issued a chilling warning to lawyers and doctors who assisted victims of a deadly government crackdown on fuel protests last month. The protests were sparked by a fuel increase of up to 150 percent announced in January by the president.

At least 12 people were killed and thousands arrested after being allegedly brutalized by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

On Tuesday, police arrested Ghanaian-born trade unionist, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, who is reportedly detained at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare, and released later without charges laid against him.

Adu Amankwah is the secretary general of the African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa). He is expected to hold a meeting with leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which organized the January public protests in Zimbabwe.

At the same time, police arrested Bustop TV presenter Samantha Kureya, affectionately known as Gonyeti, and her colleague Sharon Chidewu over a skirt in which they wore police uniforms. They were fined $20 each for violating some sections of the Police Act. The two were discharged and then called back by the police for reasons yet to be known.

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