Zimbabwe police arrested an investigative journalist and an opposition figure in the capital Harare on Monday, July 20, the latest arrests in a series of alleged abductions of government opposition figures. The two detainees face charges of incitement to participate in public violence.
Some reports suggest the arrests may be linked to possible upcoming nationwide anti-government demonstrations on July 31, although this is not clear. The planned marches at the end of the month organised by the main opposition party MDC-Alliance have been banned. Furthermore, authorities have stated that they intend to tighten the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) measures in place in opposition strongholds Harare and Bulawayo, and warned that any protests will violate COVID-19 rules that outlaw large gatherings.
A heightened security presence is possible in the days leading up to July 31, and protests are to be anticipated across Zimbabwe in the near term.
The journalist Hopewell Chin'ono had his home raided by eight security personnel during his arrest. The opposition figure Jacob Ngarivhume is the leader of a small opposition group who are in support of anti-government demonstrations.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government has been accused of failing to deal with corruption amid adverse economic and health strains in the country due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Zimbabwe's health minister, Obadiah Moyo, was charged in June in connection with the awarding of a 60 million USD (47 million GBP) contract to a company allegedly selling Covid-19 supplies to the government at inflated prices. He was later released on bail.
Individuals in Zimbabwe are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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