AU asked to end harassment of critics

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FORMER South Africa opposition leader Mmusi Maimane has called on African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa to convince the Zimbabwe government to stop a crackdown on its critics.
This comes as the country’s political tensions are rising over the deepening political and economic crisis, which has triggered anxiety and restlessness among long-suffering ordinary people.

“Mr President Cyril Ramaphosa, as chairperson of the African Union, I am requesting that you give a call to @edmnangagwa to request an immediate termination of all acts of intimidation of journalists and opposition party leaders in Zimbabwe,” Maimane said on his Twitter account.

This comes as the European Union, United States of America and the United Kingdom have all demanded the immediate release of  the arrested convener of the planned July 31 protest, Jacob Ngarivhume, on Monday, as well as an end to the harassment of other government critics in recent weeks.

Ngarivhume was arrested for allegedly inciting the public to engage in violence after he vowed last week that the protest would go ahead with or without the green light from jittery authorities.
He was remanded in custody to August 6.

This sets the stage for potentially bloody clashes between the protesters and often trigger-happy security forces — particularly after both the government and the ruling Zanu PF vowed to crush the demos, claiming that the protests were meant to topple Mnangagwa from power.

Despite last-ditch efforts last week by the Church and other concerned groups to avoid the planned protests, the organisers of the demonstration affirmed that there was no going back on the mass actions.
Ngarivhume and other opposition groups say the planned demonstration was meant to put pressure on Mnangagwa to end rampant public sector corruption.

In addition, they say the protest was also designed to force Mnangagwa to end his long-drawn political bickering with Nelson Chamisa — resulting in the two men holding much-needed talks.

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