Arrested Zimbabwean author, Booker nominee Tsitsi Dangarembga freed

Tsitsi Dangarembga holds a placard during an anti-corruption protest march on July 31, 2020, in Harare.
Tsitsi Dangarembga holds a placard during an anti-corruption protest march on July 31, 2020, in Harare.PHOTO: AFP

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwean top writer and Booker Prize nominee, Tsitsi Dangarembga was freed on bail on Saturday (Aug 1) following her arrest during anti-government protests a day earlier, an AFP journalist in court said.

Dangarembga,61, was charged with incitement to commit violence and breaching anti-coronavirus health regulations after staging a two-women demonstration in Harare which coincided with the second anniversary of President Emmerson Mnangagwa's disputed election.

She was taken away from a street corner in the upmarket Harare suburb of Borrowdale alongside another protester and hauled into a truck full of police armed with AK-47 rifles and riot gear.

Police had banned the protests called by opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume, head of a small party called Transform Zimbabwe, against alleged state corruption and the country's slumping economy.

The government had denounced the protests, calling them an "insurrection".

The Cambridge-educated author's arrest came days after her latest novel, "This Mournable Body," entered the long list for the Booker Prize.

Eleven other people arrested on Friday, including Fadzayi Mahere, a lawyer and spokeswoman for the main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change-Alliance, were also released on Saturday.

Mahere live-streamed via Facebook images of riot police scaling metal barriers into a suburban eatery where she had retreated after her protest, and arrested her.

A magistrate court sent them back home on ZW$5,000 (S$90) bail and ordered them to return to court on Sept 18.