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Green card holer Mawarire denounces Mnangagwa's record

by Staff reporter
02 Oct 2022 at 09:15hrs | Views
ZIMBABWEAN pastor and international human rights activist Evan Mawarire had a meeting with United States secretary of State Anthony J Blinken on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he informed the senior US official that rights violations in Harare had worsened under President Emmerson Mnangagwa's administration.

The pre-arranged meeting was held at the US State Department Foreign Press Centre, opposite the UN headquarters on 19 September.

Blinken also met five other activists from Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Cuba and East Turkestan.

Mawarire, now a fellow with the National Endowment for Democracy in the US, confirmed the meeting to The NewsHawks.

"The Secretary of State was keen to know what my personal experience was under former president Robert Mugabe and what my experience is, post the Mugabe era. I told him how we started the people's movement #ThisFlag in 2016; how people responded to the movement; and how we were arrested and tortured by the Mugabe regime in 2016 and 2017," Mawarire said.

"I told him how the Mnangagwa regime did the same to us in January 2019, when we were arrested together with Peter Mutasa over demonstrations in the country."

At this point Blinken said: "So have things changed since Mugabe left? Are Zimbabweans allowed to demonstrate or express themselves?"

Mawarire said: "My answer was, ‘no, Mr Secretary, things have not changed. In fact, things have gone worse'."

Mawarire reminded Blinken of the 1 August 2018 shootings, where six civilians were killed by members of the security forces in broad daylight on the streets of Harare. Most of the victims were shot in the back as they fled from armed soldiers who had been deployed to quell protests over the late announcement of election results by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

"I also reminded him that people were killed in January 2019 by the security forces. I told him we were meeting at a time legislators Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole and 14 other people from Nyatsime had spent close to 100 days in pre-trial detention, in a clear case of political persecution," Mawarire said.

"I told him that people who speak out are arrested and denied bail.

"I highlighted that those in the opposition parties were being persecuted and described how opposition rallies were being banned by the police and how people were, in some cases, being attacked at rallies.

"I told the secretary how the government was at an advanced stage in pushing the PVO Bill which seeks to monitor, police and constrict the civil space."

Blinken also asked Mawarire what he thought about the request by some Sadc and African leaders for the US to lift its targeted sanctions on Harare.

"I told him that we are concerned that leaders in the region and the continent would come to the UN to do the bidding for the Zimbabwean government yet they do not have the same zeal in confronting the government over human rights violations, looting and corruption and violation of democratic principles," Mawire said.

"It's a concern because we saw what happened to us in 2008 as a result of economic and political collapse. The region hindered democracy by assisting a person (Mugabe) who had lost power."

Mawarire said Blinken did not believe that US sanctions were affecting the Zimbabwean economy as they were targeted.

"I believe that he communicated this position to (South African) President (Cyril) Ramaphosa, because he told me he had communicated the position to him," he said.

Mawarire rose to prominence in 2016 after founding the #ThisFlag peaceful protest movement, which utilised the Zimbabwean flag as a symbol of national pride in a social media campaign to ignite public demand for accountability of the government's widespread corruption and abuse of office.



Source - thenewshawks
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