The Election Resource Center, ERC, has accused the government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 to limit citizens’ fundamental freedoms and the civic by announcing stringent lockdown rules.
Yesterday President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that the country will go back in total lockdown but of note was the 12-hour curfew which comes into effect today, which the Civil Society said limits the right to movement.
The announcement comes amid the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and with opposition members planning a nationwide demonstration against the Mnangagwa regime.
“Given the political undertones underlining the ongoing clampdown on constitutionally enshrined rights such as freedom of speech, expression, association and that of the media, the response of the state to discontent poses an existential threat to free and fair elections in the future.
“More specifically, the clampdown on media freedoms under COVID 19 has the potential of limiting citizens’ right to access information during a period in which reliance on alternative sources of information is most critical,” said ERC in a statement.
Professor Jonathan Moyo took to Twitter to chide Mnangagwa over the curfew and likened the move to the pre-colonial era.
“Forty years later, embattled Mnangagwa caves in and brings back Rhodesia, again, with his 6pm to 6am curfew!” he said
Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya also expressed concern over the curfew saying the last time this happened, it resulted in the massacre of innocent citizens during the Gukurahundi period.
“The last time Zimbabwe imposed t 6pm to 6am curfew in the 1980s, thousands died in Matabeleland and the Midlands People were wantonly short outside their homes by the 5th Brigade. Mnangagwa was Minister of State Security while Nkala and later Sekeramayi were Defence Ministers,” he said.