ZIMBABWEANS living in the diaspora have continued to raise concern over the deteriorating socio-economic and political situation in the country.
The conviction and sentencing last week of award-winning author Tsitsi Dangarembga and Julie Barnes for ‘inciting violence’ after staging a peaceful march in Harare has renewed fears of a clampdown on dissent ahead of 2023 harmonised elections.
The two were handed a six-month suspended sentence and were fined $70 000 each for participating in the July 31, 2020 protests against economic hardships.
Dangarembga says she is considering leaving for the diaspora.
In the same week, the home of Zanu PF activist, Sybeth Musengezi, was allegedly petrol-bombed Saturday evening, in an attack that left a vehicle and property destroyed.
Musengezi is challenging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s legitimacy as Zanu PF leader after he assumed power following the 2017 military coup.
Recently, scores of University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students protesting a tuition fees hike were arrested and detained by police, signifying the shutting of democratic space in the country.
A Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) benefactor based in Australia, who requested anonymity, told NewZimbabwe.com Zanu PF had opened up to violence, intimidation, arrests, and laying false charges against opposition and human rights activists.
“They have continuously arrested opposition figures without any charges, harassing, torturing and getting their devices such as mobile phones and computers and following perceived detractors on social media to monitor who is writing what,” said the CCC diasporan.
“They have employed tactics of road blocks and instant justice against human rights defenders and citizens.
“Yet Africa has remained mum and have even appointed Zanu PF chiefs, senators and MPs to continental and regional bodies and other election monitoring organs.
“Zimbabweans abroad have vowed to fight the regime on international platforms like what happened recently as Mnangagwa attended the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.”
According to the source, the diasporan community has mobilised resources to support the struggle back home, thereby attracting the attention of Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives questioning over channeling of funds to the opposition and civic society.
“Many have been contacted by members of the CIO investigating the money raised for the armoured car for the CCC president Nelson Chamisa.
“Threats have been sent by Varakashi to some in UK, USA, Australia, South Africa, Poland, Germany and many more countries causing fear of return on many, who have since suffered in the hands of the regime.
“We have activists like Shamiso Bhobho, Karimanzira, Garikai Mukarati, Evelyn Chibanda, Denzel Richard Black, Nonhlanhla Dube, Ennia Dube, Youth leader Blessing Goronga, Sekesai Zonda Patson Muzuwa and others who have put their lives on line to fight for justice in Zimbabwe.”
The continual refusal of bail for CCC MP, Job Sikhala, Gift Sithole and 14 other party activists has also cast the country’s image in bad light as an emerging dictatorship.
“This is a sign of desperation on the regime as we head towards the elections,” said the CCC supporter.