Zimbabwean novelist and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga, who was arrested at recent protests in the country, has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of holding her people in a “chokehold.”
Dangarembga was released on bail after spending a night in jail. She documented her arrest on Friday in the Harare protests against Mnangagwa’s government and for the release of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
Dangarembga was charged with incitement to commit violence and breaching anti-coronavirus health regulations. She has been ordered to return to court on September 18.
“I’m happy to be out in the fresh air,” Dangarembga told reporters while leaving the Harare magistrates court. “Probably all Zimbabweans want a better life for all Zimbabweans and the people who live here, and I think that’s a good thing to live by and to work for.”
Dangarembga continues to speak out about the state of Zimbabwe’s economy and against the suffering of her people.
“These are things that are outside the reach of most Zimbabweans. It’s like the people of Zimbabwe are in a chokehold,” she told Reuters. “It’s a matter of survival really.”
The country’s rate of inflation is currently 700 percent and there have been extreme shortages of medical supplies and foreign currency.
Dangarembga alleged that some activists were rounded up following Friday’s protests and were abducted and tortured, claims the government has denied. She considers herself one of the lucky ones.
Amnesty International has decried the government’s heavy hand.
“The brutal assault on political activists and human rights defenders who have had the courage to call out alleged corruption and demand accountability from their government is intensifying,” the human rights organization said in a statement. “The persecution of these activists is a blatant abuse of the criminal justice system and mockery of justice.”