Zimbabwe tightens coronavirus lockdown in capital Harare

Coronavirus infections have more than tripled to 203 in the last few days. (File/AFP)
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Updated 02 June 2020

Zimbabwe tightens coronavirus lockdown in capital Harare

  • Opposition movement said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was trying to suppress protests over a worsening economy
  • Coronavirus infections have more than tripled to 203 in the last few days

HARARE: Zimbabwean troops and police on Tuesday tightened the coronavirus lockdown in the capital Harare, blocking many cars and buses from entering the central business district as cases of infections increased.
But the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government was trying to suppress protests over a worsening economy and to stop MDC supporters from gathering at the courts where the lawyer for its leader was due to appear after being arrested on Monday.
Coronavirus infections have more than tripled to 203 in the last few days. Mnangagwa had eased the lockdown since it was first imposed at the end of March.
On Tuesday, however, police and soldiers turned away many commuters and cars, including those with work letters, at check points leading into town except critical staff like health workers as well as state employees, witnesses said.
“Please note that it is not everyone who should be in the CBD (central business district),” the police said in a statement.
A Reuters witness saw a group of soldiers and police in downtown Harare ordering people to leave the city center and shops to close.
By lunchtime businesses in downtown had shut, but in another part of town, where government offices are located, some businesses, including supermarkets and banks, were open.
The state-owned Herald newspaper, which reflects government thinking, published pictures on its website of people walking back home on foot.
There were no similar reports from other cities.
The MDC has accused the government of using curbs on movements to persecute its members and sees a political motive behind Monday intensifications of the lockdown.
“So if this is about Covid-19 why is it only happening in Harare? This appears to be more about politics than medicine or health,” MDC senator David Coltart wrote on Twitter.


UK publisher condemned over book edited by 'extremist apologist’

Updated 6 min 48 sec ago

UK publisher condemned over book edited by 'extremist apologist’

  • Cage is a London-based group Prime Minister Boris Johnson once described as “apologists for terror”
  • Qureshi described in 2015 the British Daesh executioner known as “Jihadi John” as a “beautiful young man”

LONDON: A British publisher has been condemned for producing a book edited by a leader of an advocacy group accused of supporting extremists.
Manchester University Press will print “I Refuse to Condemn,” edited by the research director for Cage, Asim Qureshi, in October, The Sunday Telegraph reported.
Cage is a London-based group Prime Minister Boris Johnson once described as “apologists for terror.”
Qureshi described in 2015 the British Daesh executioner known as “Jihadi John” as a “beautiful young man.”
Jihadi John, whose real name was Mohammed Ewazi, was responsible for a series of Daesh beheadings in Syria.
Britain’s counter-extremism commissioner, Sara Khan, criticised the publisher and said its publication of the book gave legitimacy to a group that supported convicted terrorists and provided platforms for “Al-Qaeda ideologues.”
“Cage’s senior leaders have advocated supporting violent jihad overseas,” Khan told The Sunday Telegraph.
She added that Qureshi had also refused to condemn the preachings of Haitham Al-Haddad, a cleric who defended female genital mutilation and stoning to death of adulterous women.
“Groups like Cage use the guise of ‘freedom of speech’, ‘rule of law’ and ‘anti-racism’, but it is the commission’s view that when Cage’s activism, beliefs and behaviours are examined closely, these values are in fact a cover to legitimise their divisive activism,” Khan said.
The university publisher website describes the book, which is a collection of essays, as exploring how “writers manage to subvert expectations as part of their commitment to anti-racism”.
A Cage spokesman said criticism of a book before publication demonstrated an “obsession with censoring opinions critical of state policies.”
A spokesman for Manchester University Press said the book was not a defence of violent criminals but an “examination of society’s expectations around an ‘appropriate’ response from innocent people of colour unconnected with extremists except for similarities of race or religion.”
He added that “The book holds that a refusal to condemn an individual or their actions cannot and should not be interpreted as support for that person or their conduct. “