CANVAS Weekly Update – July 16th, 2021


July 16, 2021

Dear friends,

CANVAS is pleased to bring you another weekly report! This week covers anti-government protests in Cuba, deadly riots in South Africa, and a costly fire in an Iraqi Covid hospital.

Conflict Update:

Cubans continue to take to the streets as anti-government demonstrations grow in both size and number across the island. Last Sunday, the Caribbean nation saw the largest wave of protests since the 1994 “Maleconazo” – and the whole world is watching. Cubans protest a lack of freedom, food, medicine as the country undergoes a dire economic crisis aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic and U.S. sanctions. According to anti-government activists of the Movimiento San Isidro, the famed Cuban art collective, more than 100 people have been arrested or are missing on the island following the first day of protests. Moreover, one person died during clashes with police on Monday, Cuba’s Ministry of Interior said Tuesday according to state-run Radio Rebelde. Find more information on the situation in Cuba in the country-specific section below.

South African security forces were struggling to restore order in part of the country on Tuesday, as police said the number of people killed in days of protests and looting rose to at least 72, some of the worst violence the country has seen in years. Protests began last week as former South African President Jacob Zuma turned himself in to the authorities to serve a 15-month jail term for contempt of court. He had refused to appear at an anti-corruption commission to face several allegations, including bribery and fraud, which he has repeatedly denied. Among those killed were 10 who died in a stampede in the township of Soweto as demonstrators ran from police.

Coronavirus Update:

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Covid-19 cases have risen 10% last week, with the highest numbers recorded in Brazil, India, Indonesia and Britain. With the rapid spread of the Delta variant, low vaccination rates, and relaxation of safety guidelines, the world is seeing a surge in infections. Some cities have begun to reinstate restrictions and lockdowns. Sydney, Australia will remain in lockdown throughout the rest of July. Seoul, South Korea is under strict distancing guidelines. Parts of Spain are seeing curfews imposed and London has reinstated masks on public transportations.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization reported that Coronavirus-linked deaths in Africa have increased by 43% this past week due to lack of intensive-care beds and oxygen. Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa, said that “this is a clear warning sign that hospitals in the most impacted countries are reaching a breaking point.” With shortages of healthcare workers, supplies, and infrastructure needed to support Covid-19 patients, leaders are turning their focus to vaccines. Less than three percent of Africa’s total population has received its first dose of the vaccine. After talking with the World Bank on Thursday, African leaders have appealed for at least $100 billion USD for financial support by the end of the year.

Indonesia reported 54,517 new cases on Wednesday, making it the new epicenter for Coronavirus in Asia. Officials are worried about how Indonesia’s health care system will be able to handle the rising hospitalizations rates alongside draining supplies. A recently published study showed that nearly half of Jakarta’s residents may have contracted Covid-19. President Joko Widodo responded to the country’s situation, stating that vaccines are Indonesia’s hope to recover. On Tuesday almost 3.5 million doses of Astrazeneca vaccines arrived as part of COVAX. The government has not announced how the vaccines will be distributed yet.


On Friday, anti-junta activists set off a bomb at the office of Myanmar’s state electricity provider. State TV reports that four employees and three others were injured in the explosion. Myanmar’s Electric Power Corp. faces increasing pressure from both the military and opposition activists. After the military coup in February, large numbers of civilians refused to pay their electric bills as a low-risk form of resistance against the oppressive regime. Recently, however, the military has begun forcing electricity companies to shut off the power of those with outstanding bills. Many rely on electricity too heavily to continue boycotting the ECP. In response, those opposition activists willing to use violence have attacked at least nine ECP offices in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, warning the companies and their employees not to cut off power.

Myanmar counted 5,000 daily Covid-19 cases on Monday. With cases so high, the demand for oxygen has skyrocketed; but according to reports, hospitals are so overwhelmed that they are turning away patients deemed too sick for treatment. In cities like Yangon and Mandalay, desperate Covid patients are forming lines to access limited supplies of oxygen. Over the past months the military has exacerbated the pandemic by arresting health officials and occupying clinics. Now, amid a nationwide oxygen shortage, doctors report that the military is blocking the oxygen supply to private clinics, instead funneling oxygen into military hospitals. Others have reported that soldiers have opened fire into crowds of people lined up for oxygen. The junta’s handling of the pandemic, especially hoarding necessary covid treatments, has resulted in hundreds of preventable deaths.

In light of the exponentially worsening situation in Myanmar,  U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken met with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on Wednesday to urge them into action. Given that ASEAN membership includes both Myanmar’s military government and their unofficial ally, Russia, diplomatic efforts to restore democracy in Myanmar have stalled. All ASEAN members agreed on a five point plan in April that called for increasing humanitarian aid to civilians, assigning a special envoy, and ending military violence. Since then however, Myanmar’s military has rejected ASEAN’s consensus and suggested their own completely different plan. Many outspoken members of ASEAN including Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, are also demanding that Myanmar release ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and are growing frustrated at the lack of productive action as the situation in Myanmar declines steadily.

In other news, after being selected to represent Myanmar at the Olympics, swimmer Win Htet Oo announced in April his decision to boycott the Olympics in protest of the junta’s rule. Now Win Htet Oo has condemned the International Olympic Committee’s decision to allow Myanmar’s participation in the games at all, pointing out that its neutrality policy “[recognizes] the legitimacy of a murderous regime.” Instead, he requests that Myanmar’s athletes be allowed to compete under a neutral flag.

The United States

On Thursday, President Biden hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House. The meeting between the heads of state came as Biden continued to emphasize his commitment to America’s European allies and to improving trans-atlantic relations at a crucial moment. During the meeting, the two leaders discussed a wide range of joint priorities, from climate change and the pandemic to Russian cyberattacks and the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. However, Biden expressed concern over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. U.S. officials worry that the major natural gas line being built from Russia to Germany could threaten European energy securityby encouraging an overreliance on Russian resources. Merkel sought to reassure Biden that the new pipeline would not displace existing Ukrainian pipelines. As Merkel nears the end of her four terms in office, the meeting seemed to be a friendly farewell between leaders without making significant progress on pressing issues.
Coronavirus cases are on the rise in all 50 states. Although nearly half of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the number of new cases per day has doubled over three weeks. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, worries that the situation is quickly becoming a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Researchers at Georgetown University have identified regions across the U.S. where clusters of counties have low vaccination rates and significant populations. These under-vaccinated areas are predominantly in the Southeast and Midwest, in states such as Georgia, Texas, and Missouri among others. Experts worry that dense clusters of unvaccinated people leave areas vulnerable to outbreaks and can act as breeding grounds for new, more dangerous variants of the virus.


Anti-government protests continue throughout Cuba and the international diaspora. Potentially hundreds of people have been detained, as activists and journalists have been reported to be missing, arrested, or under house arrest. 136 people have been detained or have been reported missing, according to an NGO-made working list of names. Internet cuts have disrupted communication and access to information around the country: “network data from Netblocks has reported that several social media and communications platforms, including Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram were disrupted in Cuba from 12 July.”
Cuba’s President admits to mistakes in a self-criticizing statement taking some responsibility for the protests. He acknowledged that the government played a role in handling shortages and other issues Cuba is facing. This is a reversal from previous statements that laid all blame on US intervention and social media. “We have to gain experience from the disturbances,” the president said. “We also have to carry out a critical analysis of our problems in order to act and overcome, and avoid their repetition.” Additionally, in a small concession to protesters, food and medicine import restrictions have been lifted by the government. “Cuba will allow passengers flying to the island to bring unlimited food, hygiene and medicine products with no import fees starting Monday through Dec. 31.”
The United States is considering intervention as Cuba cracks down on widespread protests. “They’ve cut off access to the internet,” Biden said at the White House Thursday afternoon. “We’re considering whether we have the technology to reinstate that access.” Additionally, The Black Lives Matter Global Networking Foundation faced backlash after releasing a statement on the Cuban protests, blaming the US embargo for Cuba’s issues and supporting the government’s “solidarity with oppressed peoples of African descent.”


The Canadian government has sanctioned 15 public servants in the Nicaraguan government for “failing to guarantee free and fair elections.” Several high-ranking officials comprise the list, including Daniel Ortega’s daughter, Camila Antonia Ortega Murillo. In a press release signed by Marc Garneau, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, the Canadian government calls once again for the immediate release of all political prisoners, condemns all the abuses and human rights violations in the Central American  country, and states that sanctions will not be withdrawn until Nicaragua abides by the sentence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Sanctioned individuals are barred from entering the country and banned from partaking in any Canada-related financial transaction. As the November elections come closer, the situation in Nicaragua does not show signs of improvement.
Concerns over freedom of press in the country are increasing as last week the Nicaraguan newspaper La Prensa accused Ortega’s regime of attempting to implement an “information blackout” to prevent criticism. On Wednesday, Nicaraguan Vice President Rosa Murillo warned journalists against the publishing of “fake news,” which is punished by Nicaraguan law under the Special Law against Cybercrime. Popularly known as the “Muzzle Law,” said legal instrument establishes prison sentences that can go up to 10 years for citizens charged with cybercrimes. The law contains 25 definitions of cybercrime-related jargon, but it fails to define two concepts that are crucial in its application: “fake news” and “misinformation.” Journalists fear that this void might lead to ambiguous interpretations of the law, which might lead to a harsh crackdown on reporters by the pro-Sandinista judiciary branch.


Argentina’s former President Mauricio Macri is currently under investigation by Bolivian authorities for his alleged involvement in a shipment of anti-riot equipment and ammunition to the Andean nation, used by Bolivian police to crack down on protestors during the November 2019 mass demonstrations following the ousting of Evo Morales. As stated in a letter addressed to the Argentine ambassador in Boliviaat the time, signed by Commander-in-chief of the Bolivian Airforce General Jorge Gonzalo Terceros, Jeanine Añez’s administration received +40.000 rubber bullets and several dozens of tear gas grenades at the peak of turmoil. Last week, Argentine President Alberto Fernández issued an official apology to the Bolivian people on behalf of the Argentine nation, where he condemned the actions of the previous administration and called for the “protection and consolidation” of Latin American democracies. Patricia Bullrich, former Security Minister, was also charged with smuggling by the Bolivian public prosecutor Claudio Navas Rial despite last week’s declarations, where she firmly denied her involvement in the shipment.
In other news, Bolivia received on Saturday another 500.000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, along with a million Johnson & Johnson doses donated by the United States. In view of the mass inflow of vaccines into the country, Foreign Trade Vice-minister Benjamin Blanco said that the Bolivian government expects to inoculate 46% of the country’s eligible population by late August. With nearly half a million cases reported so far, Bolivia has undergone several months of struggle with the covid-19 due to a lack of medical equipment and personnel. Nonetheless, due to their mass vaccination efforts, the Andean nation is starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.


President Alexander Lukashenko’s assault on human rights continued this week in Belarus. On Wednesday, police raided the offices of at least 19 human rights organizations and NGOs across the country including the Vyasna Human Rights Centre, the Belarusian Association of Journalists, and the For Freedom movement. The crackdown on NGOs unfolded across the cities of Minsk, Brest, Polotsk, Orshaand targeted organizations with a wide range of goals, from women’s rights to media freedoms to civic participation. During the raids, security forces seized equipment such as computers and cell phones and detained at least a dozen activists and journalists. Police claim that the raids were in response to alleged public order violations during protests last August, when tens of thousands of Belarusians took to the streets to protest the fraudulent election that gave Lukashenko his sixth consecutive term in office. Wednesday’s searches and detentions are only the latest developments in Lukashenko’s carefully orchestrated campaign to silence dissenting voices in Belarus.


The aftermath of the July 5th Tbilisi Pride demonstration and counter-demonstration has played out this week as rallies were held following the death of a cameraman. Lekso Lashkarava, 36, passed away Sunday morning from injuries he sustained during the attack of media representatives by right-wing groups, who were protesting the LGBT event. Later that day, journalists, activists, and politicians gathered outside the Tbilisi parliament building to commemorate Lashkarava and demand Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s resignation. The crowd amassed to 10,000 and remained peaceful as they demanded immediate and effective governmental response to the attack. Journalists have continued to hold rallies this week in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, stating that they would not stop protesting until the attackers are punished and Garibashvili steps down. The international community has condemned the violence and called on the Georgian government to protect journalists, the freedom of the press, and human rights. The Ministry of Internal Affairs is conducting a forensic analysis on the death of Lashkarava, and as part of an interim report stated the cause of death may have been related to a drug overdose. Prior to the demonstrations, Garibashvili warned about civic confrontation, citing Georgia’s large conservative majority. While he said “we will hold all the perpetrators accountable,” he continues to refer to the Pride march as a “propaganda parade.”

On Monday, Georgia’s Parliament appointed six judges to the Supreme Court, after ongoing controversy over the judicial validity of the appointments. Interviews were conducted over the past week with nine candidates, who were nominated by the High Council of Justice, an unelected judiciary body. Three of the nine failed to reach enough votes. The vote had been delayed by opposition lawmakers who were calling to suspend the election, citing an April 19th agreement to first conduct significant judicial reform. The U.S. Embassy responded to the appointment, calling it “extremely disappointing” and noting that it “constitutes a significant missed opportunity to strengthen confidence in Georgia’s judiciary and advance its democratic development.”


On Friday, China started the largest carbon trading market in the world, heralded as a “long-awaited step aimed at fighting climate change.” The decision is meant to curb emissions and emissions in a move intended to prevent the future global climate change crisis. 2,000 companies will be included in the pilot phase, who produce about 40% of all emissions in China. Other companies, such as airlines and steelmakers, will be added in a later phase. President Xi Jinping previously stated that he plans for China to reach “carbon neutrality” by 2060.
The Biden administration warned American businesses on Friday to be wary of conducting business in Hong Kong because of China’s financial and political restrictions on freedom. A Hong Kong Business Advisory published by the departments of Treasury, State, Commerce, and Homeland Security outlines the risks, especially in terms of access and surveillance of data. “Beijing has chipped away at Hong Kong’s reputation of accountable, transparent governance and respect for individual freedoms, and has broken its promise to leave Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy unchanged for 50 years,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken wrote in a statement.

Hong Kong:

Tong Ying-Kit’s trial entered its 13th day on Wednesday. Ying-Kit is facing charges of “incitement to secession” and “terrorist activities” after riding a motorbike into police officers over a year ago. The court continued its cross examination of the defense’s witnesses, including Francis Lee. Director and professor at the Chinese University’s School of Journalism and Communications, Lee was called in front of the judges to explain the meaning behind the phrase, “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time.”Ying-Kit displayed the phrase on his motorbike the day of his arrest. Lee’s role was to explain whether there was a correlation between the phrase and calls for Hong Kong independence. After finishing, prosecutors responded to Lee’s research and methods, calling it unreliable and irrelevant. The High Court will hear closing statements next Tuesday, concluding the first trial under the new national security law.
Alongside this, locally known activist “Grandma Wong” was sentenced to one month in prison on Wednesday. After allegedly pushing a security guard at a High Court lobby back in January 2019, Alexandra Wong was arrested and sent before the Eastern Magistrates’ Court. The 65-year-old activist is a regular presence at pro-democracy rallies and has on other occasions been arrested at demonstrations. As she was leaving the court on Wednesday, she shouted, “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times,” adding further weight to the buzzing phrase.


Indonesia’s COVID-19 crisis is now the worst in the world. This week, Indonesia surpassed the daily number of new cases in India and Brazil, recording 54,517 new infections on Wednesday. Experts fear that the true extent of the outbreak could be much worse as testing remains inadequate outside of urban areas. Although Indonesia continues to inoculate hundreds of thousands of people each day, just over 5% of the country’s 270 million people have been fully vaccinated. Oxygen shortages plague hospitals across the country causing skyrocketing prices and preventable deaths. It is certain that Indonesia’s COVID tragedy will color the political legacy of President Joko Widodo. Ahead of the 2024 presidential election, potential candidates have begun to distance themselves from Widodo and criticize his government’s inadequate policies.
In Taman Sari village on the island of Lombok, a joint local-international construction team constructed Indonesia’s first school built of Eco-Blocks in June. Lombok was devastated by a 2018 earthquake, which damaged over 1,000 school buildings across the island and disrupted the education of hundreds of thousands of young students. Despite government efforts to rebuild following the earthquake, many students still study in makeshift shelters rather than permanent school buildings. Eco-Blocks present a potential solution. Made by a Finland-based company, Eco-Blocks are made from recycled plastic mixed with wood fibers to form building blocks that fit together like lifesize Legos. The blocks are lightweight, earthquake-resistant, and fast to build with; the five classroom school in Taman Sari was constructed in only five days. Now that the pilot project is complete, there are plans to open an Eco-Block factory in Lombok to locally source the materials for future schools. Eco-Blocks present hope for improving educational opportunities in Indonesia in a cheap, innovative and sustainable way.


Anti-government protests continued over the weekend in Bangkok. With rising COVID cases and a recently announced lockdown, protestors began “The Sombat Tour,” a vehicle demonstration. Protestors piled into hundreds of cars and motorbikesand effectively jammed the streets, making noise and slowing traffic. Alongside the new tactic, protestors have begun to target PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s coalition and other political supporters. Cars swamped the streets outside of the Bhumjaithai, Democrats and Palang Prachachart Thai party offices, urging them to withdraw their support.
The demonstrators poured Tapioca flour on the ground of the Palang Pracharat headquarters, symbolizing the shady past of Thamanat Prompow, the new Secretary General of the party. Convicted of drug-related charges in Australia in the 1990s, Prompow’s defense was that the drugs found were in fact “just flour.” Around 4pm, the car mob protesters met with other anti-government protestors outside of the Thai Lai Than demonstration at the Central World shopping centre. The day ended with activists giving the government two weeks to meet their demands and urging others to organize similar car mob protests across other provinces.
In other news, Labour Minister Suchat Chomklin is under pressure to explain a leaked proposal of discriminatory COVID-19 testing. Emails sent on July 5 show the Foriegn Workers Administration of the Department of Employment cancelling COVID-19 tests for foreign workers due to shortage of medical equipment and staffing. Chomklin responded saying that testing will continue and the Ministry is instead devoting its attention to finding more venues that can be turned into hospitals.


On Tuesday, four Iranian intelligence members were charged in Manhattan with plotting to kidnap a Brooklyn-based Iranian American journalist. While she has not been identified by prosecutors, Masih Alinejad confirmed that she was the intended target. Alinejad is a prominent Iraninan opposition activist and writer who was living in exile after fleeing Iran in 2009, following the disputed presidential election and subsequent crackdown on protesters. The court alleges that the accused plotted to lure Alinejad to a third country, capture her, and bring her to Iran. There were also similar plans for three more people in Canada, a person in the United Kingdom, and targets in the United Arab Emirates. Alinejad has been living under U.S. government protection since last year, when authorities notified her that she and members of her household were being photographed and video recorded. Alinejad told the Associated Press “I knew that this is the nature of the Islamic Republic, you know, kidnapping people, arresting people, torturing people, killing people. But I couldn’t believe it that this is going to happen to me in United States of America.” The Iran Foreign Ministry responded on Wednesday, calling the accusations “baseless and ridiculous.”
Reuters reported that, in a meeting last week between the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Iraqi Shia militias, a senior Iranian commander encouraged the Iraqis to increase attacks on U.S. targets in Iraq and Syria. This comes at a time of escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran-backed militias in Iraq: prior to the meeting, U.S. airstrikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities on the Iraq-Syria border and, following the meeting, American forces were attacked several times. However, the Iranians did advise exercising relative restraint in order to prevent the situation from spinning out of control. This meeting highlights the integral role Iran plays in the U.S. conflict in Iraq and Syria: the attacks on U.S. forces have thus far been linked to Iraq’s state-supported Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), which are made up primarily of Iran-backed militias. Their main goal is American withdrawal from the region. However, a separate report claimed that Iran may be losing some control of its proxies in Iraq: senior commanders have been met with defiance by faction leaders, whose own retaliatory goals are beginning to diverge from those of Tehran.
In Covid news, the New York Times reported on Sunday that thousands of Iranians are traveling to neighboring Armenia to get the vaccine. Vaccine rollout in Iran has been slow, with only an estimated two percent of Iranians fully vaccinated. Across the border, Armenia, whose vaccine supply exceeds demand, is providing free shots to foreigners without registration. This comes as the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday its concern of a surge in cases in the Middle East, aggravated by the spread of the Delta variant. Next week, large religious and social gatherings are expected, in celebration of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. The WHO warns of “catastrophic consequences” if the current surge continues.


On Monday night a fire tore through an Iraqi hospital’s Covid ward, killing a confirmed 60 and injuring over 100 people. The fire broke out at the Imam Hussein Teaching Hospital in the southern city of Nasiriya, spreading for three hours. Police and civil defence authorities say that sparks from faulty wiring caused an oxygen tank to explode, which started the deadly fire. This is the second time in three months an Iraqi hospital lost patients to fire, with the first taking place in a Baghdad coronavirus hospital that killed over 80 people. The Prime Minister’s office called for national mourning and ordered the detention of the provincial health director, the civil defense chief and the hospital director. Iraqis have funneled their despair and anger towards the government, blaming the provincial and federal levels for years of neglect and mismanagement. President Barham Salih echoed this sentiment, referring to “persistent corruption and mismanagement that undervalues the lives of Iraqis.”
In other news, Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr said on Thursday that he will not participate in the October parliamentary election. Sadr is an influential religious and political figure, and his electoral boycott is a “blow to election plans by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who had called the early vote in response to demands by pro-democracy activists.” In a five-minute televised statement, Sadr explained that he is withdrawing his support from “anyone who claims they belong to us in this current and upcoming government” because in Iraqi politics “everyone is tainted with corruption and nobody is above being held accountable.” Sadr’s own political organization, the Sadrist Movement, has gained influence over the past two years, and many had expected the movement to dominate in the upcoming election. It is yet to be seen the impact of Sadr’s announcement.


On Saturday an explosive device and armed attack killed four people at a sports venue in Port Sudan. Fueled by growing economic and political insecurity, Port Sudan has become a hot spot for tribal and anti-government violence. Anti-government protestors blocked off several streets over the weekend. Sudan’s interior Minister Lt Gen Ezzeldin El Sheikh visited the area and ordered the blockades be removed and that “life in the city return to normal within 24 hours.” Sudan’s Defense and Security Council met on Monday to address the rise in violence in the Red Sea state and South Kordofan. The council sent military security reinforcements to the areas and promised to increase internal security as well.
Also on Monday, Sudan signed an agreement with Japan for $2.72 million in food assistance to help Sudan “fulfil its responsibility and meet its people’s food needs.” Japan’s ambassador praised their relationship with Sudan and vowed to continue to support the country as they battle food shortages.


A Ugandan weightlifter who was training in Japan for the Olympic trials has been missing since noon on Friday. Twenty-year-old Julius Ssekitoleko did not show up for his regular Covid testing and was not in his room. So far, the police and city officials have been unable to locate him. Ssekitoleko’s disappearance is especially concerning as all athletes are expected to stay within their very restrictive Covid “bubbles” in order to protect against a Covid-19 outbreak among Olympic athletes. The hotels are very securely guarded, leading to much confusion over how Ssekitoleko might have left undetected.
The five suspects in the attempted assassination of Minister of Works Gen Edward Katumba Wamala appear to have been tortured by security forces while in custody. The suspects are charged with one account of terrorism, two accounts of murder for the death of Wamala’s daughter and driver, and three accounts of attempted murder. Their lawyer reported the claims of torture last Thursday, and one suspect removed his pants to show a series of open wounds. The Ugandan Law Society has since demanded the security officers responsible be punished and criticized the Nakawa Chief Magistrate for not allowing the suspects to receive treatment at a nearby hospital. Their lawyer continues to call attention to the human rights abuses they have suffered at the hands of security forces. In other news, Uganda’s vaccination campaign is still behind schedule. Since vaccine rollout, only five percent of the targeted population has been vaccinated against Covid-19.


One million Zimbabweans have received their first dose of the covid-19 vaccine. President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressed gratitude and appreciation “Thank you to all the doctors, nurses and health officials who have made this possible. You are true Zimbabwean heroes.” As lockdown measures were extended for another 14 days, the President made a goal to vaccinate another million Zimbabweans in the same time period. Last week, Zimbabwe received 2 million vaccine doses of the coronavirus vaccine, and plans to receive 3.5 million more by the end of the month. In total, Zimbabwe has recorded a total of 70,426 infections and 2,236 deaths to date.
A vehicle corruption scandal rocked the government on Friday. Over the course of a few months, commerce officials were allegedly giving out import licences for second-hand vehicles while 3.5 million (USD) worth of license books vanished. Industry minister Sekai Nzenza, along with other government officials, are being accused of failing to keep corruption accountable in this sector. One arrest has been made and four officials are on suspension pending investigation.