Lipstick (and other dangerous objects) banned for Mnangagwa's speech

07 June 2019 - 17:27 By James Thompson
Security will be tight for Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa's graduation speech at a university.
Security will be tight for Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa's graduation speech at a university.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Universities in Zimbabwe are a hotbed of anti-government sentiment - and one leading institution has resolved to ban sharp instruments from a graduation ceremony set to be officiated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

With state security on high alert countrywide amid allegations that civic society and opposition party the MDC Alliance are plotting to cause chaos as they take advantage of the economic situation, Mnangagwa’s public appearances are now closely guarded.

"Please note that the following items will not be allowed into the graduation venue: lipstick and perfume containers, sharp objects, knives, ballpoint pens and cameras," the Midlands State University (MSU) said in statement.

At the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) in 2016, then president Robert Mugabe faced open resistance. Former Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) president Tonderai Dombo stood on a chair and faced the head of state with a placard screaming about the high unemployment rate. He was whisked away before others joined him.

A source from MSU said if that happened to Mnangagwa, it would end badly.

"We don’t want chancers to take advantage of our event. If it happens the state could react in an angry manner. We have seen how the army operates and it’s not good," said the source.

Since coming into power in 2017 through a coup, Mnangagwa’s security has been breached on numerous occasions.

The biggest scare was when a bomb explosion injured his deputy Kembo Mohadi and current defence minister Opah Muchinguri Kashiri at a rally last year in Bulawayo.


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