Checkpoint: Zimbabwe woes

WEB_PHOTO_Zimbabwe_150716

People gather outside the Harare Magistrates courts 13 July 2016 as they attend the court case of Evan Mawarire. Harare, Zimbabwe.

HARARE – The past few weeks have seen protests and a national shut-down in Zimbabwe over President Robert Mugabe’s economic policies.

On 1 July, the Zimbabwean government imposed a ban on the import of a number of food products, leading to clashes with authorities at the Beitbridge border post.

Two weeks later, the ThisFlag movement spread the grievances of the Zimbabwean population like wildfire across the globe, with over 11,000 people having signed an online petition calling for change and for President Robert Mugabe to step down.

LISTEN: Full interview with Zimbabwe&39;s ThisFlag leader Pastor Evan Mawarire

As a consequence, the leader of the movement, Pastor Evan Mawarire was arrested for allegedly trying to overthrow the government. But a Zimbabwean court later dismissed the charges against him and Mawarire was released.

Last week, local vendors in Harare were teargased by police while protesting against constant harassment by the authorities.

But, as Checkpoint discovered, after dark the police disappear, making it the safest time for Zimbabweans to go shopping in the capital city.

WATCH: Zimbabwe&39;s import ban poisoning businesses: traders

In rural Bindura, north east of Harare, Checkpoint visited the farm of one of Zimbabwe’s most-decorated ex-combatants, Agrippa Mutambara.

Mutambara left President Mugabe’s ruling party, Zanu-PF, in February this year. 

He said he believes President Mugabe is more than just concerned about recent developments. Mutambara said he believes Mugabe is in fact frightened.

So is this the beginning of the end for the 92-year-old president or is it a storm in a teacup?

WATCH: Mugabe speaks against Mawarire

*Watch Checkpoint’s full report in the gallery above.