Hard to celebrate Zimbabwe's 41st IndependenceTuesday, April 20, 2021
It is tearful that this year Zimbabwe turns 41 amid growing fear among citizens, repression, human rights abuses, and closure of democratic space. Independence Day (April 18) is a day to celebrate, yet for many Zimbabweans it was just like any other ordinary day as it symbolises a betrayal by the liberation generation who, from liberators, have morphed into oppressors.
It is tragic therefore that in independent Zimbabwe the rulers have continued using the colonial legal system — an instrument upon which officials based their conception of a new social order — to suppress citizens. Independence was a product of a protracted liberation struggle mounted to ensure that there's an equal and just society in which fundamental human rights are respected; equal access to economic resources, land, and economic emancipation; and an end to minority rule. To date, several activists, including journalists, have suffered the State's heavy-handedness.
On January 8, 2021 prominent freelance journalist Hopewell Chin'ono was arrested for the third time in six months on spurious charges by the Zimbabwe Republic Police of publishing or communicating false statements. The arrest was a reflection of the muzzling of free expression, digital or Internet rights, and continued harassment of media personnel by the State.
On March 1, 2021 police arrested three students — Richard Paradzayi, Paidamoyo Masaraure and Lean Kanengoni — on charges of unnecessary movement after they had attended court in solidarity with Haruzivishe.
On March 5, 2021 Opposition MDC Alliance activists Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri were arrested at the Magistrates' Courts, where they had also attended court in solidarity with Haruzivishe, and they continue to languish in remand.
Civil society has been appealing to Southern African Development Community (SADC) to call the Zimbabwean Government to end human rights abuses, but the regional bloc has remained mum.
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