Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

‘Regime thinks we are brain dead’, says Dangarembga after conviction

Renowned Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga has remained firm in her fight against the alleged injustice in the country despite being given a suspended prison sentence last week after being found guilty of inciting violence by staging a peaceful protest calling for political reform.

The Harare Magistrates Court on Thursday last week convicted Dangarembga and co-accused Julie Barnes of participating in a public gathering with intent to incite public violence.

The author who is also an activist and playwright together with Barnes were handed a six-month suspended prison sentence as well as a ZWL70 000 (US$112) fine.

Tsitsi Dangarembga protesting on 31 July 2020, before her arrest. (Photograph: Eye Witness News)
Tsitsi Dangarembga protesting on 31 July 2020, before her arrest. (Photograph: Eye Witness News)

They were arrested in July 2020 for joining demonstrations against the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s alleged corruption and maladministration.

On Thursday morning, Dangarembga took time to pay tribute to the people who stood with her during the time she was in and out the courts.

She, however, remained adamant that there should be change in Zimbabwe and that change can only be brought by voting. Accordingly, the author urged people to register to vote ahead of 2023 elections.

“Friends, thank you for your support and solidarity since the disappointing sentencing of Julie Barnes and myself that took place at the Rotten Row Magistrates’ Court on 29 September. I appreciate each one of your messages.

“Your messages and concern cause me to walk with my head held high, seeing the best of us Zimbabweans,” she wrote on her Twitter handle.

“In this position I can see the beautiful Zimbabwe that is waiting for us to take our courage in both our hands and ignore fear and negative voices that have been instilled in our heads by various means, brutal and otherwise.”

Dangarembga further accused the Zanu-PF regime of undermining citizens thinking they are” docile” and “brain dead”.

“Our beautiful Zimbabwe is waiting for us to bring it forth by registering to vote in our vast numbers and by voting in equally vast numbers, even as we peacefully raise our voices against the injustice we see in our country almost daily. Authorities seem to think we are as docile, as though we are brain dead.

“Soon they will see that we are not brain dead, only patient, as we work to restore the rule of good law that uplifts citizens in our lives, that brings truth, justice, prosperity and freedom to every citizen and resident of Zimbabwe.

“God bless us all and God bless Zimbabwe. I appreciate you, friends, each and every one of you. Thank you,” she stated.

President Mnangagwa assumed power through a military coup that ousted former leader Robert Mugabe in November 2017. He went on to win elections a year later under controversial circumstances that led to the death of at least 6 civilians during a post election demonstration in Harare.

In 2023, the Zanu-PF leader is likely to face main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) president Nelson Chamisa in the presidential race.