NATIONAL football team stars have joined other local and international celebrities in condemning human rights abuses in the country under the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter social media movement.
The movement, which was trending on social media and had almost one million tweets yesterday afternoon, started after security forces blocked a street demonstration last week.
It draws on the success of the global movement highlighting racial injustice that gained prominence after the death in May of Afro-American George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of the United States police.
Both local and international celebrities have endorsed the campaign including Kim Jayde, Cassper Nyovest, Tinashe, Buffalo Souljah and many others.
Now, senior national team stars including Warriors captain Knowledge Musona have also added their voices in speaking out against social injustices in the country.
Musona posted a message on his official Twitter account in support of the initiative. Other current Warriors stars including Khama Billiat, Talent Chawapiwa and Marshal Munetsi also showed their support of the campaign in their social media accounts.
The team’s poster by Billiat posted, “In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind?
Job 12:10 #Zimbabweanlive smatter#Everylifematter. In God we Trust”
France-based midfielder Munetsi wrote, “It is my utmost desire to see a Zimbabwe that is prosperous, peaceful, productive and progressive in all sectors, tolerant and full of love, faith and hope. Let us continue to pray for our beautiful Zimbabwe. #Zimbabweanlivesmatter,” while winger Chawapiwa posted “Talent “God is in control#Zimbabweanlivesmatterr.”
Former Warriors captain Willard Katsande led the cast of ex-team players who came out in the open condemning the clampdown on human rights.
“Prayers to my Zimbabwean brothers and sisters #Zimbabweanlivesmatter,” posted the Kaizer Chiefs hardman on his Twitter account.
Other former players who showed their support included Cuthbert Malajila and Matthew Rusike.
South Africa’s national team attacker Percy Tau also threw his weight behind the campaign.
Besides footballers, Zimbabwe-born Springbok prop Tendai Mtawarira and former Zimbabwe cricket captain Brendan Taylor posted messages on their social media accounts in support.
The campaign has also caught the attention of American rapper and actor Ice Cube, while several prominent South African politicians have expressed their anger over use of brute force by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
In a televised speech yesterday, Mnangagwa said the protests, which were quashed by his security forces, was an “insurrection” meant to topple his administration.
He said “dark forces within and outside the country” were undermining economic recovery efforts.
“The bad apples that have attempted to divide our people and to weaken our systems will be flushed out,” he said.
Zimbabwe is facing an economic crisis, with inflation hovering around 737%, food and fuel shortages and a collapsing currency.
At least 60 people, including 2020 Booker Prize long-listed novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga, were arrested for taking part in the foiled protests, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.