Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe protests 'fizzling out'

Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe protests 'fizzling out'
Published: 16 January 2019 (271 Views)
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday showed little concern about the deadly unrest back home as he continued his widely criticised state visit to Russia and met counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Ahead of the meeting with Putin, Mnangagwa told RIA Novosti news agency that he would be looking for financial support from Moscow.

"I can't say that we want this much or that much," the Zimbabwean leader said in an interview.

However, a report carried by another news agency, TASS, after the meeting made no reference to any financial bailout deal.

The two delegations reportedly signed a range of agreements to facilitate implementation of the Darwendale platinum project which is being developed by Russian firms.

"A memorandum of understanding was signed between the African Export-Import Bank and the Russian-Zimbabwean Great Dyke Investments on provision of project financing by this bank in the amount up to $192m," reported TASS.

"Great Dyke Investments also signed a memorandum with the African Financial Corporation on shareholding participation in the Darwendale project in the amount up to $75m.

"Furthermore, a memorandum was signed to secure political risks of Russia's VTB Group participation in the project."

Mnangagwa's business as usual approach abroad contrasts sharply with the deadly crisis back home.

Soldiers were patrolling the streets across the country as the main cities and towns remained deserted with shops closed on the second day of a shutdown called by labour unions and activists.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a press conference in Harare that three people, including a police officer, died Monday as violent protests rocked the capital after Mnangagwa more than doubled fuel prices before leaving for Moscow.

Rights groups however, put the death toll at 8 with more than 200 people reportedly arrested as the security services launched a crackdown against the protestors.

State Security Minister Owen Ncube also ordered telecoms companies to shut down internet access in a development seen as aimed at blocking social media publicity of the government crackdown.

The blockade lasted all of Tuesday and appeared to be still in place Wednesday morning.

In Moscow, Mnangagwa, who has ignored calls that he returns home to deal with the crisis, downplayed the gravity of the situation.

"I understand this that there were some protests happening yesterday, but they are almost fizzling out and there is no country which has no challenging problems. These come and pass", he was reported as saying by Russian news agency Sputnik.

- newzimbabwe

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