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#ZimbabweanLivesMatter emerges as citizens protest Mnangagwa govt

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 04 Aug 2020

Zimbabweans have initiated a social media campaign, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, to drum up regional and international support against President Emmerson Mnangagwa who on Tuesday vowed to “flush-out bad apples”.

Amid allegations of corruption, human rights abuses and policies, the statement by Mnangagwa fuelled rising tension and anger on social media.

Last week Friday authorities quashed planned protests and also cracked down on media and activists for using Twitter to post messages critical of the government.

Mnangagwa used his State-of-the-Nation address on Tuesday to speak out against corruption, but also blamed some opposition activists for current economic difficulty.

“Those who promote hate and disharmony will never win. The bad apples that have attempt to divide our people and to weaken our systems will be flushed out… we will overcome attempts at destabilisation of our society by a few rogue Zimbabweans acting in league with foreign detractors,” Mnangagwa said in a televised address.

Human rights groups say activists, as well as journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, were arrested for exposing corruption and for drumming up support for the protest.

After the government deployed security forces to enforce COVID-19 lockdown measures, Zimbabweans have now taken to Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp under the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter to protest against the Mnangagwa administration.

The online campaign has received support from regional and international public figures including Julius Malema, Morgan Heritage and musician AKA.

Malema used Twitter to call for the “removal of the Zimbabwean Embassy in SA until they restore the human rights” in that country.

“Failure to do so, we will prevent any official from the Zimbabwean government from participating in any gathering in SA until they respect ordinary Zimbabweans,” tweeted Malema.

With the advent of the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, Econet Wireless raised voice call, SMS and data tariffs.

“The cruelty is funded and sponsored by organisations and companies like @econet_support @econetzimbabwe. See how they find the guts to hike tariffs jus to silence the people. #ZimbabweanslivesMatter,” tweeted one user.

Telecommunications has been pivotal in the struggle by Zimbabweans in the past few days. NetBlocks, which monitors internet accessibility, said over the weekend that state-owned TelOne had throttled internet service speeds the day before and during last Friday’s planned protests.

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