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Anti-Mugabe former US State Secretary dies from Covid-19

Colin Powell

Zimstar News

Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who superintended over Zimbabwe’s controversial sanctions law back in 2001, has died aged 84 from Covid-19.

His death was announced Monday by his family via Facebook.

“General Colin L. Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, passed away this morning due to complications from Covid 19,” read the message.

Powell held the position from 2001 to 2005.

He is best known to Zimbabweans for presiding over bitter relations with the then Robert Mugabe led administration and had a strong hand in the enactment of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act passed 2001 by the United States Congress.

The sanctions law, which barred American firms from any trade with Zimbabwe, was passed ostensibly to provide for a transition to democracy and to promote economic recovery.

ZDERA remains in place.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba Monday posted a somewhat gloating message over Powell’s death.

“Gen Colin Powell has died of COVID-19-related complications. Conscious Zimbabweans remember him as US’s black Secretary of State who afflicted us with punitive sanctions!!!!!” Charamba said.

The once controversial top diplomat once condemned Mugabe and his “violent misrule” and envisioned another round of elections and a transitional government with the “president gone.”

This followed a violent presidential election controversially won by the now late former leader 2002.

In an op-ed column published in The New York Times, Powell urged Zanu PF and MDC MPs to “legislate the constitutional changes to allow for a transition” that would bring a new leader to the country.

“With the president gone, with a transitional government in place and with a date fixed for new elections, Zimbabweans of all descriptions would, I believe, come together to begin the process of rebuilding their country.

“If this happened, the United States would be quick to pledge generous assistance to the restoration of Zimbabwe’s political and economic institutions even before the election. Other donors, I am sure, would be close behind.”

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Student leaders arrested as anti-riot police storm ZINASU meeting

Zimbabwe Republic Police

Zimstar News

Four student leaders have been arrested after some baton wielding anti-riot police stormed and dispersed participants to a ZINASU General Council meeting in Masvingo this Saturday.

They are ZINASU president Takudzwa Ngadziore, Paidamoyo Masaraure (WUA president), ZINASU gender secretary Nancy Njenge and UZ SRC president Lennox Machoko.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform said police pounced on the student activists “without just cause”.

“The riot police pounced on the innocent student activists without just cause and brutally dispersed the General Council prompting other students in attendance to scurry for safety in rooms at the venue where they have locked themselves…” said the student representative group.

Police were reportedly moving from room to room, banging doors to try and locate more activists.

The state’s action is a test to the Zimbabwe government’s commitment to human rights ahead of an impending visit to the country by Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan 18 to 28 October 2021.

Zimbabwe Human Rights Monitors Platform condemned the arrest of the student leaders.

“The Poverty Liberation Movement is enraged by the blatant disregard for the Freedom of Assembly and Association by the government of Zimbabwe,” said the group.

“The General Council which was observing all Covid-19 protocols and looking to better the welfare of students at tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe was Sanz ceremony crushed and hordes of student leaders from various institutions locked themselves in their respective rooms to avoid unwarranted arrest.

“The Liberation Movement is hereby demanding that the government of Emmerson Mnangagwa release the arrested students and allow them to discuss issues that will benefit the over 300 000 students in Zimbabwe!

“Should the government continue on this suicide path, let them remember the words of veteran student leader and pioneer, Learnmore Judah Jongwe, ‘Students the world over are known to initiate and execute revolution and Zimbabwe is not an exception!’ If they invite resistance, they will get resistance in truckloads!”

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