Campaign News
Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu ‘tries to kill’ Hakainde Hichilema PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 10 February 2019 15:59 

Zambia’s president Edgar Lungu ‘tries to kill’ Hakainde Hichilema

Christina Lamb – February 10 2019, 12:01am, The Sunday Times

Zambia’s opposition leader, Hakainde Hichilema, has accused the country’s president, Edgar Lungu, of trying to kill him.

Hichilema, 56, warned that the international community’s failure to act on state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe is encouraging other African regimes to crack down on opponents.

The opposition leader said he was holding a rally on Friday in Sesheke, southwest Zambia, when police and activists from the ruling Patriotic Front opened fire.

President Edgar Lungu was ‘ruthless’, Mr Hichilema said.

“We were having a peaceful meeting when about 100 heavily armed men from the ruling party arrived, escorted by police, and started firing live ammunition on us,” he told The Sunday Times yesterday.

Video obtained by this newspaper shows terrified men and women cowering behind vehicles and fleeing through the bush amid the crack of automatic gunfire.

“It was clearly an assassination attempt on me,” said Hichilema, who leads the United Party for National Development. He accused Lungu, who has been in power for four years, of being “ruthless”.

Zambia was long regarded as one of the most stable countries in Africa but is currently going through a debt crisis. Much of the money is owed to Chinese companies contracted to carry out road-building.

Hichilema claims Zambia is going the same way as neighbouring Zimbabwe where, according to Amnesty International, more than 1,000 people have been detained and at least 15 killed over the past month by security forces suppressing protests over high fuel prices.

“You see what happened in Zimbabwe and no one did anything . . . so it is creating a ripple effect,” Hichilema said.

Who really calls the shots in bloody Zimbabwe crackdown? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 27 January 2019 12:45 

Who really calls the shots in bloody Zimbabwe crackdown?

Christina Lamb, Chief Foreign Correspondent - 27 January 2019, The Sunday Times


The two girls, one 11 and the other 12, were on their street in the Pumula district of Bulawayo one afternoon, going between each other’s homes, when they made the mistake of peeping through the wall of the police station to see what had happened to their neighbours who had been locked up. They were spotted, dragged in by soldiers and raped in the courtyard.


“I’m losing faith in humanity,” said Nkululeko Sibanda, spokesman for Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change, in tears after speaking to the girls. “What’s happening here is beyond my ability to process.


Since exposing the scale of violence in Zimbabwe last weekend, The Sunday Times has been contacted by numerous victims and their families. The hairdresser in hospital after soldiers broke all her fingers. The teenage boy stripped naked with knives by soldiers then flogged after they could not find his uncle, a union leader. Every day more are added to the hundreds detained.


President Emmerson Mnangagwa returned from an overseas trip in the early hours of Tuesday, calling the violence “unacceptable”. The shootings may have stopped but the campaign of terror unleashed on Zimbabwe’s poor has continued.


While his Cambridge-educated finance minister, Mthuli Ncube, was posting pictures on Twitter yesterday of meeting investors in Zurich after attending Davos, soldiers in Zimbabwe were smashing up small businesses and menacing people on public buses.


So who is really in control just 13 months after Zimbabwe celebrated the end of 37 years of dictatorial rule under Robert Mugabe?


“It’s all about power,” said Beatrice Mtetwa, Zimbabwe’s leading human rights lawyer. “There can be no question but that Zimbabwe is under military rule — the army is in control.”


“This is a battle between reformers and hardliners,” explained a close adviser to Mnangagwa. “Effectively we have two presidents.”


The adviser was referring to Mnangagwa and his deputy, General Constantine Chiwenga, who as army chief led the move against Mugabe in November 2017.


Those close to both men say there is little love lost between them and that Chiwenga has grown impatient with Mnangagwa for appointing people from his Karanga tribe and profiting from stakes in diamond mines and Zuwa, the country’s biggest petrol station chain.


“[Mnangagwa] has become too greedy and people are fed up,” said a foreign businessman who has known both men for decades. “Diamonds, fuel . . . he hasn’t stopped collecting and putting pressure on people."


Mnangagwa left the country earlier this month on an investment-raising tour after announcing that fuel prices would more than double. When fuel protests erupted and a nationwide stayaway from work began, Chiwenga decided to act.


The Sunday Times has learnt that, at the height of the street crackdown, there were plans either to impeach the president or launch a coup on January 18 — but Chiwenga failed to get enough support from fellow MPs in the ruling Zanu-PF party and the presidential guard remained loyal.


Some MPs publicly said they had been threatened by Chiwenga’s men.


“They threatened to kill me and harm my family,” tweeted one. “I stand by Mnangagwa. The plot is foiled. They lack numbers for impeachment.”


“The whole stayaway and protests was a pretext for the military to come out,” claimed the presidential adviser. “There are so many fissures within government, lots of people aligned to Chiwenga, also some with Grace Mugabe [the wife of Mnangagwa’s predecessor]. There’s also a tribal element It’s a complete mess.”


The adviser added: “It’s a battle for the control of Zimbabwe and control of resources, the fact that shit hits the fan the moment he is out of the country I don’t think is a coincidence.”


Terence Mukupe, a former Wall Street banker who was Mnangagwa’s deputy finance minister and has family ties to him, also tweeted that he was receiving death threats to switch sides. “I will never sellout on my president,” he wrote. “You are wasting your time threatening to kill me and my family . . . I will never join your sick plot!!! Come get me and do as you please but my president is not going anywhere!!!”


Mnangagwa is himself no stranger to violence, having headed the feared CIO intelligence agency during a crackdown in the 1980s in which thousands were killed in Matabeleland.


Mukupe insisted to The Sunday Times that Mnangagwa has changed and his focus now really is on reopening the country for business. Referring to a prophecy made by a local pastor last year, he added: “He was told by his prophet if he directly orders spilling of blood that would be the end of his presidency and he believes that.”


Mukupe said he had no doubt the army was behind the crackdown. “Look at it this way: he takes off to market the country and those on the ground start carrying out acts contrary to what he is preaching. It was clear sabotage. The army believe it’s they who put the president in power so they should be the ones calling the shots,” he added.


Others disagree, arguing that this may be a “good cop bad cop” routine.


“I’ve known him many years and he hasn’t changed yet,” said the foreign businessman. “The only way [Mnangagwa] has been able to maintain control is violence on the streets, beating people up — that’s his raison d’être. He was trained by North Korea and as head of CIO was ruthless.”


Mtetwa also thinks it is too convenient to blame Chiwenga: “I don’t believe one man has the power to do this without others being in agreement. It’s the entire Zanu-PF system.”


Under the Mugabe regime, she was twice arrested and badly beaten three times, and represented scores of people who were detained and tortured. “These are days we thought we would never see again,” she said. “Only this is worse. Using live ammunition, putting 14, 15 and 16-year-olds in custody, wholesale arrests without any evidence . . . We are seeing systematic denial of bail, trials without people even knowing the charges. The courts are violating every rule in the book in what is clearly an orchestrated campaign.”


For the past 12 days, Fadsizai Chibanda has gone every day to Chikurubi maximum-security prison in Harare to try to visit her husband, Patrick, who was dragged from their home in a midnight raid at the start of the crackdown. She is borrowing money to pay the bus fares, $6 (£4.55) each way, with nothing coming in because the small pre-school she runs is closed down.


She saw him once in court, where he looked dirty and beaten and was, as with all those picked up, denied bail. When she tried taking food to the prison, it was rejected.


"They are deliberately starving them,” said Mtetwa, who is representing Evans Mawarire, a well-known pastor who was arrested after calling for non-violent protest against the fuel-price rises. “The prisons have no food and when we take things they refuse to accept it, saying it might have cholera.”


No one knows where the crackdown is leading. Though there is clearly no love lost between the president and his deputy, they need each other, says Stephen Chan, professor of world politics at Soas, University of London (the School of Oriental and African Studies) and a regular visitor to Zimbabwe. “General Chiwenga and [Mnangagwa] are not a happy couple but they also can’t live without each other.”


Whatever the real reason for it, the violence is a huge disappointment for those who thought things would change post-Mugabe.


Among them is Kerry Kay, who knows only too well the scale of Mugabe repression after her husband, Iain, was beaten to within an inch of his life in 2002 by thugs carrying sticks wrapped with barbed wire, who forced them off their farm.


The last time I saw her was at the march in November 2017 to call for Mugabe’s resignation, where people cheered the soldiers who had arrested him. Then she was jubilant, hugging everyone and telling me she “felt 17”. Yesterday she was smuggling baby food to a woman who had been locked up with her 11-month-old child.


“I’ve documented hundreds of thousands of cases since 1998 and I can’t believe this is happening again,” she said. “These are evil bastards who have so much blood on their hands they could drown in it, and they will do anything to stay in power.”

Life beyond survival coping mechanisms PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 January 2019 13:33

Life beyond survival coping mechanisms

from an anonymous contributor 18/01/2019

'The start of another week and one in which most people have moderated their expectations. Getting through the week without the car being burnt, or the kids hurt, is a desirable outcome.

While the trade unions and the Opposition have called for the stay-away, they are irrelevant. There are not enough people left in formal jobs and employment for the unions to command any sort of significant membership. The Opposition has also been exposed and discredited, and no one is waiting for the various flavours of the MDC to do anything constructive. They are divided and fully infiltrated.

What we are seeing is something different, and in many ways akin to the “Yellow Jackets” in France. This is the urban poor slowly arriving at the realisation that the massive fuel cost increases, and the shortages and inflation pressures they know will follow, are beyond their survival coping mechanisms. The masses in the townships are slowly living the truth that they do not have a future, and that their children are fated to an existence dominated by hunger.

The ZanuPF-State security apparatus are fully aware that they are facing a leaderless insurrection of the poor. The wailing and gnashing for bread, and an agitation for a more tolerable existence. As such State agents have been widely filmed today in civilian clothing in the townships using AK47’s on any crowds of the poor that they find. They are using selective individual killings to try and frighten and diffuse the anger and energy of the mobs. There will not be the media show this time around of uniformed military shooting veggie sellers.

Naturally the poor and the unemployed are less than enthusiastic about their circumstances, so they are burning police stations, barricading roads, and are trying to make as much of a nuisance of themselves as they can. All while playing cat-and-mouse as they try to avoid risking too much harm to themselves. Without question looting is rife, and there is a breakdown in the structures of law and order in all the major urbanised areas. Central government is not in control of large swathes of the urban areas.

Will the current uprising of the poor improve their lot? No. This is a junta and not a democracy, so the State is content to kill controlled numbers of rioters until the mob loses its cohesion and enthusiasm. In this reality the only voices that count are those reinforced with firearms. In Zimbabwe the rest are just free-range tax payers to be subjugated and mercilessly bled. The chattels and harlots of the State. The children of the poor will go hungry this year, and they will sink deeper into poverty. Their daily grind will worsen as they are denied more and more basic services.

Will the +250% increase in the fuel price, and the attendant consequences, yield any positive results within the economy? No. The fuel queues are here to stay regardless of the pricing model that Ncube and friends try to introduce. Any models that do work involve the civil servants, doctors, teachers etc. unable to access fuel with their Zimbabwe Dollar salaries.

We have a situation where any policy choices that improve the economy, directly hurt and marginalise special interest groups within ZanuPF. The interests of the Party faithful would have to be sacrificed for the greater good. There are no policy options available to ZanuPF today that will jump start the economy and allow a developmental track to be developed. You can not be the cure when in fact you are the problem. This is the conundrum that has enveloped the country since the military coup a year ago, and no progress has been made since then to install a credible and effective narrative.

As we move closer to the formal re-introduction of the Zimbabwe Dollar, and the criminalisatiion of hard currency holdings by anyone outside of the ZanuPF gangster elite, the crisis will continue to deepen. This movie is a long, long way from over, and the suffering and stories have just begun. 

The rain in Harare today sent everyone scurrying for cover, but no doubt the sports will resume in the morning. Going to be a long week.

Zimbabwe unleashes lethal force on the enemy — its people PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 January 2019 13:23

Zimbabwe unleashes lethal force on the enemy — its people

Children and the elderly are among those dragged from their homes and viciously beaten by police and soldiers following fuel price protests

Christina Lamb 20/01/2019, The Sunday Times



The 15-year-old schoolgirl lies corpse-like on the metal hospital trolley, legs weirdly twisted, skin waxy from the intense heat, the only movement her eyelids fluttering in pain. When her eyes do open, they look out with utter terror, quickly closing again as her two aunts negotiate with nurses how to pay the $200 for the X-rays she needs — the equivalent to a monthly wage.


Her name is Sarah Mupandi, she dreams of being a lawyer and she is the face of a people so despised by their government that over the past week it has set police, soldiers and dogs on everyone from children to the elderly, then expects them to pay for their hospital treatment.


Around midnight on Monday, when Saraccah was sleeping, seven masked police officers smashed the door of her home in Epworth, a poor township in the east of Harare, dragged her and her 18-year-old brother from their beds and began savagely beating them with sticks and sjamboks, or whips.


“I was screaming,” she says weakly. “They shouted, ‘Why are you screaming?’ and beat me more.”

“They beat me here, here, here,” she adds, pointing at her left arm, her chest, her legs and buttocks.

The officers took her to Harare Central police station with dozens of other local people, almost all men, then to Chikurubi, a maximum-security prison notorious for disease and torture.


Only on Thursday afternoon was she released to the aunts she has lived with since her parents moved to South Africa to try to earn money to pay for her schooling, and ordered to appear in court on Friday.


It was there that she collapsed and ended up in Parirenyatwa hospital. One nurse there says quietly: “We’ve seen dozens of cases — the morgue is full.”


Sarah is one of hundreds of people who have been dragged from their homes over the past few days across Zimbabwe and beaten in a brutal crackdown that seems designed to terrify a population into submission and quell protests at the almost tripling of fuel prices last Sunday.


The price hike to $3.31 a litre, making Zimbabwe the most expensive place in the world to fill up a car, was the last straw in a country with 90% unemployment where people rely on “kombi” minibuses to get from the townships to the city to sell their few tomatoes or potatoes.


When trade union leaders, as well as a well-known preacher, Pastor Evan Mawarire, called for a nationwide stay-away on Monday, almost all shops and businesses closed and there were clashes in the streets.


The response was swift. The regime reacted with brutality, shocking even to those worn down by decades of Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship.


Police and soldiers went house to house dragging people out and beating them, while plain-clothes men with AK-47s shot others.


On Tuesday morning the state shut down the internet in a clear attempt to stop information getting out as President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan trying to get money for his bankrupt country — as well as signing an agreement for military training from Moscow.


Tomorrow he heads for Davos where he will hobnob with world leaders in the Swiss resort, enjoying lobster and champagne and plugging his slogan “Zimbabwe is open for business”, which is on billboards all over Harare.


While he has been away, the world has been largely blind to what his security forces have been doing. With the internet shut down for all but a few hours of the past few days, only a few anguished appeals for help and fragmented reports have emerged.


Now the truth about the vicious crackdown can be revealed.


The Sunday Times has secretly met dozens of victims in safehouses and clinics across Harare, the country’s capital, ranging from a 10-year-old boy to an 80-year-old man. We have seen numerous scars from beatings, burns and even dog bites as police set bulldogs on their own people.


Information is scarce. The government says 300 people have been arrested and three killed, but by Friday the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO forum had catalogued 12 dead, 78 with gunshot wounds and 242 with dog bites, as well as hundreds of victims of beatings.


One western diplomat had heard of “as many as 200 dead, certainly 50”. Many of the gunshot victims are rumoured to have been taken into the headquarters of the ruling Zanu-PF party.


We the People, a nationwide network of monitors that runs a freephone number, reports that one Harare clinic saw 63 injured people over a 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday and referred a further 30 more critical cases to hospital. Yesterday more reports were coming in of beatings overnight.


Four heads of non-governmental organisations have gone into hiding, including Rashid Mahiya, head of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella group. His mother and brother were both picked up and beaten by soldiers searching for him.


More than 700 people are believed to have been detained. “Over the last few days we’ve been totally overrun,” said Doug Coltart, a young lawyer representing some teachers who were picked up and beaten. “There have been so many arrests and abductions that we don’t have enough people to respond.”


“Even under Mugabe we never saw anything like this,” said his father, David Coltart, a senator and long-time opposition activist.


“We are even wishing Mugabe hadn’t gone,” says Farai, a driver in Harare, who regularly has to queue 20 hours for petrol. “We are poorer than ever. Mnangagwa has done worse things in 14 months in power than Mugabe in 37 years. He never shot people or switched off the internet.”


The euphoria of November 2017, when people came out into the streets following Mugabe’s arrest by the military, now seems sadly mistaken.


At the time General Constantino Chiwenga, the military chief, was lauded as a hero and made vice-president.


Many now blame Chiwenga for the current brutal repression and believe they were used by the military in 2017 to legitimise what was in fact a coup.


Chiwenga has been in charge while Mnangagwa is travelling and there is reputedly little love lost between the two men, prompting some to see what is happening now as a second coup.


“What’s different from Mugabe’s time is the militarisation and randomness,” said one of those monitoring the attacks. “Most of the victims are not activists or opposition supporters, just poor people minding their own business and trying to survive.


Among them was Precious, a widow of 45, who looks after eight children — four of her own and four of her sister who died. She often lives on blackjack, edible weeds, in order to survive.


On Monday afternoon during the stay-away, she was at home in Dzivarasekwa, southwest of Harare, with all her children and locked the door fearing trouble.


“Around 3pm we heard a noise and saw eight men — four police and four soldiers,” she said. “They kicked the gate and door and yelled, ‘All out!’.”


The terrified family came outside where police ordered the children to roll in the mud and started to beat two of the boys and a girl. The youngest was her nephew, Ezekiel, aged just 10.


“They were all crying,” said Precious, whose name has been changed to protect her. “I was crying but I couldn’t do anything. The police told my children, ‘You are the youth and we are going to stop you.’”


Ezekiel was left covered in slashes and open wounds, which Precious had to wash and patch up since no one could go out to a clinic. “He already lost his parents,” she said. “Now this — he is having nightmares and cannot sleep.


After beating the 10-year-old, the police went door to door. Precious said when her neighbours refused to open the door, the police broke the window and tear-gassed the house to force them out.


Civil society activists and volunteers have a set up network of safehouses to deal with the victims as they did in the Mugabe days. In one clinic yesterday, among 15 people waiting for treatment I met Samuel Takawira, walking on wooden crutches with a badly swollen foot with clear tooth marks.


He explained that he was walking back from Harare, where he had been doing some carpentry, to his home in Hopley when soldiers and police stopped him and two others. “They ordered us to lie down then began beating us with sticks and sjamboks,” he said. “Then they released two bulldogs on us and laughed as they bit us.”


Nor is the violence just in Harare. In one safehouse I met Alex and Shadrek from the rural town of Karoi, who told me they were dragged from their homes to the road and beaten.


Alex showed the burns on his hand where they forced him to put it in the fire of a burning tyre then roll in the road. “I kept telling them I wasn’t involved but they kept beating us.”


The two men managed to flee into the bush where they hid for two days before making their way to Harare, but they say 26 others are still detained.


“The police keep coming to my house to look for me so I can’t go back,” said Shadrek. “My wife and children are terrified.”


At the magistrates’ courts in Rotten Row, Harare, on Friday afternoon I met dozens of families whose husbands or sons had been picked up. In courtroom after courtroom, one group after another were being denied bail.


In court 9, Fadzizai Chibanda and her friend Caroline were waiting for news of their husbands, Patrick and Victor, who had been dragged from their homes in Epworth at midnight on Monday.


“Around 50 masked men with guns came and broke down doors,” said Caroline. “It was terrifying.”


Fadzizai said: “We don’t know where [our husbands] are to send them food and don’t have money for lawyers or to come to courts.”


At about 3pm, after hours of waiting, 61 prisoners shuffled into court 9, several of them with clear signs of beating. Bail was denied and the prisoners were told their cases would go straight to trial for inciting violence.


A similar scene was under way in court 11, where six prisoners were brought in. They were being represented by Rusty Markham, MP for Harare North from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.


“What is happening is completely unconstitutional,” he said. “The fact every single court is doing the same shows it is political and state sponsored.”


Elsewhere another lawyer was desperately trying to find out what had happened to a policeman who had disappeared after apparently refusing to be part of the beatings. With the internet shut off for the second time, accessing information was difficult.


Downstairs in court 6, Pastor Mawarire was appearing, accused of inciting violence and trying to topple the government. “He told people to stay away, not be violent,” said his brother Alan Mawarire. “He is being made a scapegoat.”


“What’s happening is inhumane, unconstitutional and breaks my heart,” said Shorai Chidena, a lawyer. “They are shutting off everything so the outside world doesn’t find out.”


Outside in the car park a colony of rats ran around the food van where the few people with money were buying greasy sandwiches and talking about what might happen next.


Just along the road was the town centre where six people were shot dead protesting against election results last August that gave a landslide majority to Zanu-PF, which has governed the country since independence and left them in this situation.


Just as then, the regime has blamed last week’s violence on the opposition. “The timing of the protests, targeting of police stations, inflating of the number of victims among other shenanigans . . . all point to a poorly concealed political agenda oiled by the country’s traditional foe,” declared The Herald, the state-owned newspaper, yesterday.


No one knows what will happen next. Though shops reopened on Friday and coffee shops were still busy in the affluent northern suburbs, in the centre yesterday the streets were quiet and the atmosphere was menacing. Soldiers in trucks watched the townships.


With talk of another stay-away tomorrow, supermarkets had large queues. Word had spread that there was fuel in a petrol station in Belvedere and motorists had been gathering since the early hours. I counted more than 250 cars in the line.


Back at the hospital, Sarah and her aunts were wondering how they would get home and how safe they would be. “We are very scared,” Sarah said. “At school we learn governments and police are supposed to protect their people. But these ones are wicked.”

Exposed: the horror Zimbabwe is hiding behind a news blackout PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 20 January 2019 12:47

Exposed: the horror Zimbabwe is hiding behind a news blackout

Mugabe’s successors beat and kill in a brutal betrayal of the hopes raised by his downfall — and try to stop the world seeing

Christina Lamb 20/01/2019, The Sunday Times

Hundreds of people, including children as young as 10, have been killed or beaten in Zimbabwe in recent days in a crackdown the regime has tried to hide by shutting down the internet and deporting foreign journalists.

The violence comes as the country’s president heads to the economic summit in Davos by private jet tomorrow to brush shoulders with the rich and powerful in his quest for international recognition and investment in his bankrupt nation.

Last week civil society groups, led by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, wrote to the EU accusing President Emmerson Mnangagwa of using “murder of unarmed civilians as a tool to retain power”.

They demanded that he be barred from entering Switzerland unless he “immediately cease the ongoing human rights violations”.

The government has admitted only to three deaths and 300 detentions, but in the past few days The Sunday Times has secretly met hundreds of people in safe houses, hospitals and courts who have been beaten or had dogs set on them by masked police or soldiers.

Among them were a 15-year-old girl and a 10-year-old boy.

The closure of the internet for periods since Tuesday, on government orders, has made information difficult to obtain, but a doctor at Harare’s biggest hospital said the morgue was full. One western diplomat said they had heard of as many as 200 deaths, certainly 50.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said they had treated 72 people for gunshot wounds.

Hundreds of people have been detained and denied bail by magistrates who seem to be acting on government orders.

When diplomats demanded a meeting with the government, they were given what one described as “a command briefing” by Cain Mathema, the acting foreign minister. No questions were allowed.

The crackdown followed a more than doubling of fuel prices, with petrol costing $3.31 (£2.57) a litre, the most expensive in the world. It prompted a nationwide shutdown on Monday as well as protests and looting.

The midnight abductions and widespread beatings across the country that followed represent another dashing of hopes for Zimbabweans who believed things would change with the removal of long-time dictator Robert Mugabe, 94, whose authoritarian 37-year rule ended in November 2017.

Last August six people were shot in front of foreign journalists during protests against the election of Mnangagwa, who had been Mugabe’s deputy and right-hand man for decades but has tried to sell himself internationally as something new.

“This is worse than Mugabe,” said Nelson Chamisa, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, yesterday. “These are old wolves in new clothing, using the same old methods of human rights abuses and internal displacement. They are telling the world they are open for business when they are selling a dummy.”

He spoke after attending the funeral of Kelvin Tinashe Choto, 22, a talented footballer and captain of the team in his township of Chitungwiza, who was one of those shot.

Chamisa paid tribute to “a young man with a bright future who was not politically involved in any way, yet was so badly shot his skull could not be reconstructed”.

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