Zimbabweans too intimidated to speak out, even in South Africa

Mmeli Dube of #UniteBehind chaired a forum to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe on Saturday at the Central Methodist Church. Photo: Tariro Washinyira

Mmeli Dube of #UniteBehind chaired a forum to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe on Saturday at the Central Methodist Church. Photo: Tariro Washinyira

‘Government monitors social media. I am scared if I make negative comments, I would get blacklisted and not get my passport,’ an activist said.

About 30 activists from various movements and a handful of Zimbabweans met to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe on Saturday at the Central Methodist Church, Cape Town.

Mmeli Dube of #UniteBehind, which convened the event, described political life under Robert Mugabe’s 37-years of dictatorship: “Elections were violent and stolen all the time. Corruption was not punished but rewarded. Military, police, courts were used against opposition parties and civil society. Activists were also abducted, killed, arrested and silenced.”

Dube said the ascension of Emmerson Mnangagwa to the presidency had not brought the necessary change.

“The army continues to kill protesters. No arrests are made or serious investigations done. Activists are abducted and tortured.”

Commenting on why there were only six Zimbabwean present at the event, a 30-year-old Zimbabwean, who came to South Africa in January, said people were too scared to attend such forums because there were government intelligence agents monitoring these kinds of events.

He said there were spies on the campus of the University of Zimbabwe, where he had been enrolled. He spoke about torture and intimidation campaigns by the ZANU PF youth unit, Chipangano.

“A month before elections, they moved around the township every day singing, marching, and chanting slogans,” he said.

He said he wore an MDC T-shirt at a shopping mall close to his house. His aunt felt obliged to go to the ZANU PF chairperson and apologise on his behalf.

He also said: “Government monitors social media. I am scared if I make negative comments, I will get blacklisted and not get my passport. I am in the process of getting a new passport.”

Republished from GroundUp

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.




today in print