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The eyes of the world have turned to Zimbabwe this week, as an online campaign using the hashtag #zimbabweanlivesmatter in criticism of the government’s violent crackdown against protesters gained momentum. 

Since taking power in 2017 after the fall of Robert Mugabe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has grown increasingly hostile towards citizens protesting against his government’s rampant corruption, its failure to tackle widespread poverty, and its egregious human rights abuses. 

Many across the country have clamoured against Mnangagwa’s exploitation of the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to crack down on dissent and quash anti-government demonstrations by deploying hundreds of armed police officers at sites of protests, conducting mass arrests, and enacting dusk-to-dawn curfews. 

Mnangagwa’s government has been arresting, torturing, and kidnapping prominent political activists, including award-winning author Tsitsi Dangarembga and journalist Hopewell Chin'ono, who exposed numerous corruption scandals. Many journalists and activists remain in hiding, fearing arrest and abuse by the authorities. 

In typical tyrannical fashion, Mnangagwa has been labeling protests as “bad apples” and vowed to have them “flushed out.” 

The worsening crackdown on protesters had led Zimbabweans to escalate their demand for justice and embark on the ZimbabweanLivesMatter campaign, which gained international attention after high profile artists and politicians from around the world began spreading the hashtag online, among which were rappers IceCube and Lecra.

Former U.S. president Barack Obama has also spoken up against Mnangagwa’s brutal suppression of protests, as did the Malawian president and former president of Botswana, Ian Khama.

In South Africa, a politician demanded to shut down the country’s embassy in Zimbabwe as a means to exert pressure on Mnangagwa, and several UN agencies have thus far issued condemnations of the Zimbabwean regime. 

It is important to utilise this momentum and urge the international community to support the Zimbabwean people in their demand to end the Mnangagwa’s regime assault on their human rights and freedoms.

How can you help? First and foremost - keep the flame alive by spreading the #zimbabweanlivesmatter hashtag and sharing tweets and posts by Zimbabweans documenting the events as they transpire.

You can also write to your local representatives and demand that they speak out against the Mnangagwa’s regime and its violations of human rights. 

You can also sign this Change.org petition  demanding that the United Nations take concrete action in support of the Zimbabwean people.  

Image: Nyaradzo Taguzu via Change.org

Call to Action
Zimbabwean Lives Matter!