Corruption suspect minister arrested
The country's health minister Obadiah Moyo is arrested on suspicion of
corruption in connection with the procurement of medical supplies that would
have been used in the fight against the corona pandemic.
Country facts and history of Zimbabwe, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
The coup dot is denied
Interior Minister Kazembe Kazembe holds a press conference denying the rumors
of a coup d'état. The country's highest military leadership participates in the
meeting. A specially appointed Security Council blames the "rumor spread" on the
media, opposition politicians, religious leaders, former members of the ruling
party and Western diplomats. In recent weeks, several politicians from the
opposition party MDC have been arrested, including three female MDC politicians
who were beaten by police in May (see May 15, 2020). They are
charged with soliciting a riot. The United Nations Special Envoy requests
Zimbabwe to bring the charge down. A few days later, the three opposition
politicians are being charged again, this time for lying about the violence the
police exposed them to. The women deny the charges. A number of lawyers have
also been arrested. The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum has previously reported a
compilation of abuses committed by the police and security services during the
corona shutdown. The list contains 245 different events.
Journalists free from bail
Two journalists arrested the week before are released on bail. The two
journalists have been officially prosecuted for violating the country's coronary
restrictions. They were arrested when they interviewed three female opposition
politicians from the MDC party who were abused following a protest action
against the country's way of dealing with the corona crisis (see May 15,
2020). The working conditions for the country's reporters have worsened
during the corona pandemic, but one of the country's higher courts has ordered
the police to allow journalists to report unhindered during the shutdown.
Female opposition members abused
15th of May
Three female leaders from the opposition party MDC Alliance are hard to find
just outside the capital Harare. The three belong to the MDC Youth Federation
and had taken part in a protest action against the government, which is accused
of failing to take action to help the country's poor during the corona shutdown.
After the campaign, the female activists were arrested by the police. They
testify that they were subjected to severe abuse and sexual abuse during the
time of the police arrest. The EU protests against "torture and humiliation" and
demands an independent investigation into the incident. Under the leadership of
President Mnangagwa, respect for human rights in the country has continued to
The opposition boycott parliament
The party leader for the country's largest opposition party, the MDC
Alliance, calls on the party's elected officials to boycott parliamentary work.
The decision was made in protest of the fact that Parliament has excluded four
MDC members who are closely allied with MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
There has long been a stubborn leadership battle within the party between the
MDC Alliance and a significantly smaller faction, MDC-T, which challenged
Chamisa's leadership role in the country's court. At the end of March, the court
announced that the election of Chamisa as party leader had not gone right but
had to be reversed. Since the founding of the party in 1999, MDC has been
divided several times (see Political system).
Extended covid-19 shutdown
President Emmerson Mnangagwa extends the shutdown of Zimbabwe by two weeks.
So far, 25 people have been found infected with corona and three people have
died. Zimbabwe does not meet the World Health Organization's requirements for
when a country can ease the corona restrictions. The health department accuses
the government of not providing doctors with the necessary protective equipment
and has therefore brought the government to court. Zimbabwe today celebrated 40
years as an independent nation but without the solemn ceremonies that are
customary on Independence Day. In a televised speech, the president instead
urged everyone to stay home.
Restricted media freedom in the tracks of corona infection
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), charged with protecting media
rights, accuses police of abusing a journalist who documented police work during
the Corona crisis. The journalist was also forced to delete all pictures he
took. Another three journalists have been arrested briefly in recent days. The
fear that the government will use the corona virus as a pretext to restrict
freedom of press and expression in the country is growing.
The UN launches a humanitarian rescue plan
Together with the UN, the authorities present a humanitarian rescue plan to
help Zimbabweans who are at risk of starving. The goal is to reach food, water,
sanitation, health, education and housing to 5.6 million people. Of these, the
UN food program WFP estimates that 4.3 million are in an emergency. The
situation in the country is aggravated by the coronas center. The pandemic can
have disastrous consequences in Zimbabwe whose health care even before the
outbreak lacked the most basic resources and medicines.
The country closes and the US dollar may be used again
The whole country is shut down for three weeks in the fight against corona.
Everyone is encouraged to stay home. Only vital matters are allowed. Persons in
necessary social functions are exempt from the restrictions. Police set up
roadblocks to check that no one is moving unnecessarily in the streets and
police patrols in the capital Harare are ordering residents to go home. It is
now allowed to use US dollars as a means of payment. The decision has been made
to facilitate the financial situation, the government says. However, one of the
country's economists believes that the corona is just an excuse and that the
reintroduction of foreign currency was absolutely necessary due to the economic
First death due to corona
Three days after the first case of coronary disease was found in the country,
a 30-year-old man who tested positive for covid-19 dies. President Emmerson
Mnangagwa decides to close the country's limits on passenger transport.
The economic crisis is exacerbated
Inflation reaches over 500 percent, according to the country's statistical
authority. It happens a few days after the finance minister introduced a
controlled floating exchange rate in an attempt to curb the Zimbabwe dollar's
fall. Today's figures evoke dark memories from 2007–2008 when inflation
skyrocketed (see Modern History).
The United States tightens the sanctions
11th of March
Two senior officials in the administration, Owen Ncube, Minister of National
Security, and Anselem Sanyatwe, former commander of the President's special
patronage, are charged with extended penalties. The United States freezes both
men's American assets. They have previously banned entry into the United States.
Ncube and Sanyatwe are held accountable for turning down peaceful protests and
the US calls for a halt to state-sanctioned violence.
Remnants of war heroes should be returned
Skulls from beheaded national heroes that have hitherto been kept at the
British Museum are to be returned to the Zimbabwean state. A total of 27
survivors are left and among them are the skulls of the spiritual leaders Mbuya
Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi who organized an uprising against the British colonial
rulers in the late 1800s.
Trial against opposition politicians begins
MP Job Sikhala, who is charged with plotting to overthrow President Emmerson
Mnangagwa, pleaded not guilty to the charges. Sikhala is the Vice Chairman of
the largest opposition party Movement for Democratic Change. He was arrested in
July after criticizing the country's leader at a political meeting. The
indictment is one in the line directed at government critics. Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights call the trial "harassment of opposition MPs".
China promises enhanced cooperation
During a visit to Zimbabwe, China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi praises the
cooperation between the two countries in infrastructure, agriculture and mining.
He calls it a winning concept for both parties and promises to explore new areas
of cooperation. Yi, on the other hand, does not address the issue of direct
financial support to Zimbabwe. The good relations between China and the Zanu-PF
governing party date back to the days of the civil war, but in 2019 they
collided with each other after Zimbabwe claimed that only a small part of the
promised aid from China was paid. China has become an increasingly important
partner since the US and the EU strongly condemned abuses and violence during
both the incumbent government and the ex-President Mugabe's time in power.