CW 32/2020: Challenging the Status Quo
Press Review 1 August 2020 to 7 August 2020

Political tensions escalating in Zimbabwe

Unemployment, corruption, inflation: The resentment of the people of Zimbabwe is driving  them onto the streets. The government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa continues to respond to the  peaceful protests in a repressive manner. In recent days, several members of the opposition and activists have been arrested. Zimbabwe’s president also described the country’s main opposition party, the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), as terrorists and announced that he would continue to crack down on the group. According to Tendai Biti, spokesman for the MDC, some of the imprisoned opposition members were mistreated and tortured. Biti sees the worsening situation as a possible turning point and warns of a new military coup. Many of the activists have now gone into hiding to escape the wave of arrests. In social networks, under the hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, attempts are being made to draw attention to the situation of protesters in the country in southern Africa and to call on the international community to criticize the actions of the ruling party ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front). On Thursday, South Africa’s government unusually criticised human rights violations in their neighboring country and announced a bilateral dialogue at the highest level is needed to stabilize the situation. The situation in Zimbabwe has been tense for some time. Contrary to all promises, Mnangagwa has not been able to lead the country out of the economic crisis; inflation is at 700 percent, the second highest in the world. The president’s attempt to blame Covid-19 for the poor economic situation is also strongly criticized by the opposition.


Tundu Lissu appointed as presidential candidate

Tundu Lissu was unanimously appointed as presidential candidate on Tuesday by Tanzania’s leading opposition party Chadema. Thus Lissu, who among other things also holds the deputy chairmanship of his party, will compete against the current president John Magufuli in the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections on October 28. Lissu convincingly won  the internal party vote with 405 from 453 votes against two other challengers. The 52-year-old former member of parliament and politician returned to the East African country for the first time last Monday after barely surviving an assassination attempt in the capital Dodoma in 2017. At that time he was shot sixteen times and subsequently received medical treatment, first in Kenya, and later in Belgium. The event is regarded as being politically motivated and the perpetrators of the assassination attempt,  l, have not yet been held accountable. The chance of  the popular politician standing a chance against President Magufuli is nevertheless considered unlikely. Magufuli has already been in power for five years and is now seeking a second term in office after being re-elected as presidential candidate by his party, Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM), last month. The CCM has ruled the country since independence. Opposition groups, including Chadema, repeatedly criticize the restriction of civil rights during Magufuli’s term of office and do not expect free and fair elections, partly due to the numerousarrests of opposition members and media workers. In addition, the Tanzanian government is under criticism for its handling of Covid-19: The number of Covid-19 infections has not been updated for three months, and according to President Magufuli, the country has already defeated the pandemic.


In other news

Step by step Rwanda is opening its borders to tourists.  Too slow for Patrick Karangwa, founder of Kigali 360. He has created an alternative to classical travel: online tourism. The 32-year-old offers virtual 360-degree tours to Rwanda’s most impressive sights, be it the famous Gorilla Park or a replica of a traditional Rwandan royal residence. This allows people from all over the world to participate without having to leave their own room. Karangwa hopes that his tours  will also enrich the offer and promote international tourism in his country, even after Covid-19.

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