US issues Zimbabwe travel warning

By Thabani Zwelibanzi

The United States has issued a new travel warning for Zimbabwe, warning its citizens that they should exercise increased caution when travelling to Zimbabwe, as there was crime and civil unrest.

In the latest travel warning, which was issued on Tuesday, the US warned that “violent crime, such as assault, carjacking, and home invasion, is common. Smashing the windows of cars with the intent to steal, which can harm the driver or passengers, is also common”.

Further, the western nation said Zimbabwean police lacked the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

Among other issues, the US warned its citizens in Zimbabwe to stay alert and avoid openly displaying cash, to carry copies of their passports rather than originals and to stay away from political rallies, demonstrations, and crowds.

The US also urged its citizens to monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust their plans.

The warning is listed under a “Level 2” notice.

According to the US Department of State website, there are four levels of warning, the first being to exercise normal precautions, the second being to exercise increased caution, the third being to reconsider travel and the fourth being not to travel.

With the economy continuing to contract, fears of civil unrest continue to rise.

Teachers and doctors have already issued the government with an ultimatum that they intend to go on strike if their grievances are not addressed.

Recently, Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri was quoted saying there was a plot to unseat the government.

Her Information counterpart, Monica Mutsvangwa has also alleged that a recent bread price increase was meant to torch demonstrations to unseat President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

On the other hand, the opposition has threatened to hold massive demonstrations to force Mnangagwa to fix the economy.

Zimbabwe was rocked by demonstrations two weeks into 2019 as protesters protested against a sharp increase in the price of fuel.

Authorities responded by shooting at demonstrators, with an estimated 20 people being killed.

Mnangagwa has been on a charm offensive to re-engage the west after years of isolation, but the latest travel warning could feel like a punch in the gut.

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