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Zimbabwe President Decries ‘Divisive Falsehoods’ Over Rights Abuse Claims

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Zimbabwe’s president Emmerson Mnangagwa has on Monday called criticism of human rights abuses by his government, “divisive falsehoods”. Mnangagwa says his administration was under renewed attack from domestic and foreign opponents.

Human rights groups and lawyers say activists are being arrested, abducted and tortured after they called for street demonstrations in late July. The government snuffed out the planned protests by deploying security forces on the streets. Arrests were also made.

The main opposition movement for democratic change says about 30 of its members have fled their homes fearing abduction or arrest by state security agents.

Mnangagwa, during a Heroes Day speech in Harare, said the allegations were “unjustified attacks by whom he called perennial detractors, both inside and outside our border”.

Mnangagwa, replaced Robert Mugabe after a 2017 coup with hopes that Mnangagwa would unite a polarized country and revive a stricken economy following the Mugabe era have been dashed. Like his predecessor, Mnangagwa accuses the west of funding the opposition to destabilize the country.

Critics also say Mnangagwa is using the cover of a COVID-19 lockdown to silence critics as anger grows over 737% inflation – which has brought back memories of hyperinflation under Mugabe a decade ago – a collapsing health sector and shortage of public transport.

Mnangagwa, however, said his government had set a firm foundation “for a thriving constitutional democracy, and a just, open, accountable and prosperous society”.

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Malawi Closes Schools To Limit Virus Spread

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Malawi has now joined Rwanda to close schools. Authorities say they have shut nursery and primary schools on Monday as coronavirus cases surged. Malawi reported more than 13,000 cases and 321 deaths since the pandemic started last year.

Authorities say a third of those deaths were reported in the past 16 days. After reporting no positive cases for almost two months, the country has seen a sudden resurgence.

Malawi says it will shut schools for at least 15 days and all bars will also close at 8 pm local time.

The government says it was allocating a further 2 million dollars to provide healthcare staff with equipment.

Rwanda closed schools in the capital, Kigali, on Monday. Education minister says schools in other regions would also be shut if more cases are confirmed there.

Meanwhile, the Rwandan government announced on Monday night it has imposed a 15-day lock down in Kigali, as the country battles a second wave of coronavirus cases that has resulted in “unprecedented deaths and transmission rates.” it says in a statement, all movements outside homes in the capital will require an approved permit from the police, except for essential service providers.

Africa has exceeded 3.2 million cases and more than 76,000 deaths. South Africa has the chunk of the infections.

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COVID-19 Infections Spike Among Mozambique Health Workers

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Mozambican authorities have expressed concern over increasing numbers of medical staff infected with the coronavirus. Local officials say their major concern is that the health services are understaffed, with a poor doctor to patient ratio. They fear a rapid spread of the virus among health workers would cause capacity collapse.

In the northern province of Nampula alone, more than 40 health workers have tested positive for the virus over the weekend.  Some 133 health professionals have contracted the virus in the same area since last year. No deaths were recorded. Many in the country have been accused of flouting COVID-19 rules.

Meanwhile, education authorities in the capital, Maputo, say dozens of students have tested positive for COVID-19. Provincial education director, Deolinda Cossa, says 40 students had been infected and are now in isolation.

The governor of Maputo province, Júlio Parruque, urged schools to intensify enforcement of public health measures in order to reverse the situation.

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Tunisia Arrests Hundreds As Riots Over Economic Crisis Enter Third Night

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Continued protests in Tunisia have entered the fourth consecutive night on Sunday. Clashes between protesters and police were reported in the Tunisian capital, Tunis, and several other cities across the country. The protests began during the renewed start of covid-19 lockdown on Thursday.

Authorities say more than 200 persons have been arrested. Interior ministry spokesman, Khaled Hayouni, said earlier on Sunday, dozens of young people, mostly between 14 and 17 years old, had been arrested after they took to the streets during previous evenings, to loot and vandalize shops, banks and property.

The protesters weren’t making any clear demands. But there has been widespread dissatisfaction in Tunisia, about severe economic problems, rising prices, and thirty percent youth unemployment.

The country’s revolution 10 years ago ushered in democracy, but hopes that this would bring more jobs and opportunities have been dashed.

Some say these are not protests, because they are not held during the day, when faces are visible.

Despite the revolution a decade ago, many Tunisians are increasingly angered by poor public services and the political class, with high consumer prices, shrinking GDP and about a third of young people unemployed.

The health crisis and ensuing economic misery have pushed growing numbers of Tunisians to seek to leave the country.

Videos circulating on social media showed young people burning tyres, insulting the police and looting shops.

Sousse, usually a magnet for foreign holidaymakers but hit hard by the pandemic, also saw rioting.

Tunisia had been under a night-time curfew even before the recent lockdown, a four-day measure meant to expire on Sunday at midnight.

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