By Leopold Munhende
WORLD-ACCLAIMED author, Booker Prize nominee and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of denying citizens space to enjoy their basic rights.
Dangarembga was speaking upon release on $5 000 bail at the Harare Magistrates Courts after her arrest Friday for demonstrating against high-level government corruption and rising poverty levels in the country under the Zanu PF led administration.
She was charged together with a colleague, Julie Barnes who was also granted $5 000 bail. The two were arrested in Borrowdale, Harare and are facing charges of incitement to commit public violence and breaching Covid-19 lockdown regulations.
“The government is making it hard for us to enjoy basic rights. Section 59 does exist and does control the right to demonstrate and petition peacefully but it seems it is very difficult to do that practically because you run the risk of being arrested if you do,” she told journalists on her release Saturday evening outside the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.
“I feel that probably all Zimbabweans want a better life for all Zimbabweans, and I think that is a very right motive to have, it is a good thing to live by and work for,” said Dangarembga.
She was part of a number of activists who were arrested Friday as police descended on #31July protesters.
On Thursday, before her arrest, Dangarembga had said the anti-corruption demonstration was necessary given the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe.
“Every sector is disintegrating. Health, education, the economy. I am concerned for my safety. It would be naive not to be because we have a very repressive regime and we know that they will most likely be deployed against the people,” she said.
“This is one of the grievances that the people have, that the security forces, the service is often deployed against the people, instead of being deployed for the protection of the people.”
Her latest book, This Mournable Body, is on the Booker Prize longlist, which was unveiled earlier this week.
It is a sequel to Nervous Conditions, and “channels the hope and potential of one young girl and a fledgling nation to lead us on a journey to discover where lives go after hope has departed”.