CANVAS Weekly Update – November 12th, 2021


November 12, 2021

Dear Friends,


CANVAS is delighted to bring you another issue of our weekly report!


In this issue, we cover the latest updates on the US-China tensions, protests in Tunisia, news on the UN climate change summit in Glasgow, the Nicaraguan elections, and more.


Conflict Update:

This week in Israel, Palestinian prisoner Miqdad al-Qawasmeh, being held for unspecified Hamas activity, ended his 113-day hunger strike. The strike was undertaken in protest of his detention, but he ended it after learning he will be released in February. He was being held under Israel’s administrative detention laws, which allow the holding of prisoners without charges for security reasons. In Tunisia, a town protesting the reopening of landfills was made increasingly rife after the death of a protester due to what is claimed to be tear gas inhalation. The interior minister has claimed the death was a result of an unrelated health condition. However, on Thursday, reporters claim that security forces were using tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters. In Pakistan, a far-right leader was taken off the terror list in order to end weeks of deadly protests. Saad Rizvi was removed from the list, likely leading to his release from detention. The government agreed to the freeing of 2,000 members of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) movement, who were detained. The government lifted a ban on the group, agreeing to let it contest elections. In return for the release and freedom, the group has agreed to give up violent politics, and withdraw a demand for the expulsion of the French ambassador after the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. The TLP began protests in mid-October, leading to weeks of protests and clashes that killed at least seven policemen. The protests resulted in dozens of injuries and the blockage of the busiest highway in the country.



This week, an Arab League delegation was sent to Beirut to mediate the ongoing rift between Lebanon and Saudi-led Gulf nations. The rift was sparked by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi’s criticism of Saudi intervention in the Yemeni civil war. So far the delegation, led by Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki, has met with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Najib Mikati. Next week, the delegation expects to meet Speaker Nabih Berri and Foreign Minister Abdallah Bouhabib. Under discussion is whether or not to pursue direct dialogue, a position taken by Aoun and Bouhabib, or other ways of mending relations with the Gulf countries, as per Mikati. The rift has also divided members of Mikati’s cabinet, who are split on whether or not to call for Kordahi’s resignation. With regard to the ongoing Beirut blast probe, a Lebanon Court of Appeals Judge has been suspended from the case against the lead judge investigating the probe, Tarek Bitar. Judge Habib Mezher, close to the Amal Movement and Hezbollah, was suspended on 9 November due to a lawsuit filed by activist group United for Lebanon, who accused Mezher of overstepping his jurisdiction. On the same day, activists also sealed Mezher’s office with red wax in an act of symbolic protest. Mezher’s suspension is the latest in a series of pushback by high-ranking officials against Bitar. Despite it all, Bitar continues to receive support from families of the blast victims, who allege that Bitar is the target of a smear campaign by officials who fear being held accountable for the blast.



This week in Nangarhar province in eastern Afghanistan, it appears that a bomb was planted inside a mosque in Spin Ghar. During Friday prayers, around 1:30 p.m. the explosive was set off, killing an estimate of three people. There are 12 confirmed injuries as a result. This week, the ex-finance minister of Afghanistan claimed that the reason the country fell so quickly to the Taliban was due to what is called “ghost soldiers”. Such ghost soldiers were apparently invented by a corrupt official. Khalid Payenda, the ex-finance minister, has claimed that the majority of the official troop count of 300,000 did not exist. Instead, false soldiers were added to the count so general’s could take their wages. There has long been speculation over the official troop count – with the US Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction stating that “neither the United States nor its Afghan allies know how many Afghan soldiers and police actually exist, how many are in fact available for duty, or by extension, the true nature of their operational capabilities.” he also stated that he had “serious concerns about the corrosive effects of corruption… and the questionable accuracy of data on the actual strength of the force.” Afghanistan’s ex-finance minister Kayenda claimed that such “ghost troops’ ‘ were prioritized over real soldiers, who were often not paid on time. The leaders of government militias are accused in the report of “double-dipping” where they took money from the government to fight the Taliban, and took money from the Taliban to give up without a fight.



The United Nations Security Council has expressed deep concern over increased violence across Myanmar, calling for an immediate end to the fighting and for the military to exercise “utmost restraint”. The rare statement was agreed to by all 15 members. It came amid reports of a buildup of heavy weapons and troops in western Chin state, suggesting an imminent army attack to flush out militia groups formed after the military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government in a coup on February 1. “The Members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at further recent violence across Myanmar. They called for an immediate cessation of violence and to ensure the safety of civilians,” the statement said. Myanmar’s military has not commented on the situation in China, a volatile border region that has become a forefront of resistance against military rule. Myanmar’s military junta searched, sealed, and posted a warrant notice on a house owned by the parents of the country’s ambassador to the United Nations as part of a wider crackdown on former government officials loyal to the ousted democratically elected government, sources in the country told RFA. Ambassador Kyaw Moe Htun said he opposed military rule during a U.N. special meeting on Feb. 26, several weeks after the military toppled the government. The junta over the past three months has seized about 70 properties of NLD lawmakers and other members of the party, many of whom have joined the National Unity Government (NUG) or local armed militias that collectively call themselves the People’s Defense Forces (PDF).


The United States:

The White House has announced President Joe Biden will be meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping virtually on Monday, saying that the agenda of this meeting is to “discuss ways to responsibly manage the competition” between the countries “as well as ways to work together where our interests align”. This will be the first meeting between both the leaders since Biden entered the White House in January and it is coming after they announced a climate cooperation deal on Wednesday calling for “enhanced climate action in the 2020s” using the 2015 Paris climate deal’s guidelines and “concrete and pragmatic” regulations in decarbonisation, reducing methane emissions and fighting deforestation. On Friday, the US Treasury Department issued a statement saying it has sanctioned the Eritrean military and the country’s ruling party for “contributing to the crisis and conflict” in Ethiopia, which has displaced more than 2.5 million people and killed thousands. President Joe Biden signed legislation on Friday that stops telecom companies that were judged to be a security threat earlier last month from receiving new telecoms equipment licences. It means equipment from Huawei, ZTE Hytera Communications Corp, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co, and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. cannot be used in US telecoms networks. However, the Federal Communications Commission was not required to reject the companies’ applications to be used in US networks.



Cuba has accused the United States of seeking to destabilise the island, ahead of the opposition groups’ planned protests next week. The government has put a ban on the demonstrations, rejecting the protest organisers’ request last month. On Wednesday Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez said the government would not allow “the persistent aggression by the United States government, its intense and constant attempts … to create conditions for internal destabilisation, to alter the citizens’ calm and security”. The government has launched a media campaign that leverages the state security forces to unearth evidence it says proves the organizers are working covertly with the United States to overthrow the government. The All India Peace and Solidarity Organization (Aipso) said it condemns the efforts of the United States government to interfere in the internal affairs of socialist Cuba while extending its support to the Cuban government on Friday. The National Federation of Trade Unions and Employees of Lebanon (Fenasol) has also condemned the US maneuvers against Cuba. The dissident movement that says its most potent weapon is the cellphone and have denied any accusation of involvement of the United States.



November 7th, the contested election results announced that incumbent President Daniel Ortega won reelection. The election results reported by the Nicaraguan government report that Ortega and his Sandinista National Liberation Front won the election by more than 75% of the vote. The election results do not come as a shock as Ortega had been targeting political opponents’ months ahead of the election. Many of opposition leaders have been detained including seven presidential candidates and others have been forced to flee the country. Many family members of opposition leaders say their loved ones are facing inhumane conditions while in custody. Detainees are living in cramped spaces, and some are even denied the right to access their medications. The international community was quick to respond with criticism as the election took place. The RENACER Act was signed by US President Biden on Wednesday to impose hard sanctions on the government. In a statement, the White House said that the sanctions targeted restricting multilateral bank lending and regime corruption. These sanctions will work in tandem with the European Union and Canada. Other countries also announced their disappointment in the election results. Costa Rica’s President, Carlos Alvarado Quesada, said he will not recognize Ortega as the leader of Nicaragua. In a statement, The European Union condemned Ortega by declaring that Nicaragua is an autocratic regime. Spain called the election a farce in a statement from the Foreign Ministry. On the day of the election 1,450 secret poll monitors stationed themselves across 563 to monitor the election. The 1,450 volunteers communicated through encrypted text messages to organize as Nicaragua denied traditional international monitors to watch the results of the election. Urnas Abiertas, a grass-roots poll watching group, released information about what took place during the election result. They observed that only 18.5% of eligible Nicaraguans cast a ballot which contradicts the official reported turnout of 65 percent. Opposition leaders believe this is a result of the preemptive attempt by groups to urge people to boycott the election. Ahead of the election, opposition groups spread the hashtag #QuedateEnCasa (stay home) to encourage a national boycott. The same day of the election Nicaraguans around the world joined together to protest the election.  Nicaraguans exiled in Costa Rica marched holding signs with slogans such as “free the political prisoners” and “I will not vote on November 7th”.



A group of feminist protestors were attacked by parishioners with whips at the Cathedral Basilica of San Lorenzo Martir, in Santa Cruz. The women, who are members of the collective “Mujeres Creando” (Women Creating), were protesting the alleged intervention of the Catholic Church in the rape case involving a minor. The 61-year-old man who committed the rape had caused his 11-year-old granddaughter (the victim) to become pregnant. The girl will not be undergoing an abortion due to the alleged intervention from the Church, who has publicly condemned abortion. This week also sees ongoing strikes in various parts of the country against Law 1386 of the “National Strategy to Combat the Legitimation of Illicit Profits and Financing of Terrorism.” November 12th marks the fourth day of strikes involving anti-government protestors and supporters of leftist President Luis Arce. According to Pagina Siente, both sides have issued ultimatums with protests growing in the region. Law 1386, which alleges to fight money laundering, involves changing a set of penal codes and regulations–an act that activists have called “anti-democratic” and “anti-constitutional.” During the course of the protests, one 22-year-old  man reportedly died. Civic leaders in the Southwestern city of Potosi are demanding that the government repeal the law, for the resignation of several high-ranking officials, and investigate the death of the 22-year-old man. This group in Potosi are opposed by a pro-government peasant union from the eastern department of Santa Cruz, who are reportedly backed by the pro-Arce Movement Towards Socialism (MAS).



Western members of the UN Security Council have accused Belarus of putting migrants’ lives in danger and using the migrants to destabilise the European Union’s eastern border in a joint statement published after Thursday’s emergency UN Security Council meeting. Russia rejected the accusations while President Vladimir Putin told the European Union to start talks with Belarus if it hopes to resolve the migrant crisis on the Poland-Belarus border. European Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen and President Joe Biden reportedly discussed the possibility of new sanctions on Belarus in an Oval Office meeting. Poland has deployed 3,000 extra soldiers to strengthen the border and has been detaining migrants and refugees who attempted to enter the country from Belarus. Belarusian President Lukashenko warned saying Minsk “must respond” and that any new sanctions would be met with a response, including potentially cutting off natural gas transit to Europe. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, on the other hand, said “It would be more harmful for him, for Belarus, than for the European Union and I can suppose it’s bluffing”. On Saturday, at the request of Turkish authorities Belarusian state-owned airline Belavia said it will stop allowing citizens of Iraq, Syria and Yemen to board flights from Turkey to Belarus.



Jailed former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has agreed to follow a call by the European Court of Human Rights to end his hunger strike if he is transferred to a civilian clinic from a prison hospital. Saakashvili’s lawyer, Nika Gvaramia, announced his client’s statement on November 11. But Justice Minister Rati Bregadze said on November 11 that Saakashvili will not be transferred to a civilian clinic but will be returned to the Rustavi detention center once he stops his hunger strike. On November 10, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) called on Saakashvili to stop the hunger strike he started on October 1 right after he was arrested on his arrival to Georgia after an eight-year absence. The ECHR also called on the Georgian government to keep it informed about Saakashvili’s state of health, as well as about the medical treatment being dispensed in the prison hospital. The ECHR also said Georgian authorities should ensure Saakashvili’s safety while in custody and provide him with appropriate medical care for the post-hunger strike recovery period. Saakashvili and his supporters have said that authorities transferred him to the prison hospital from a detention center in Rustavi near the capital, Tbilisi, against his will on November 8. Saakashvili, his relatives, doctors, and lawyers have demanded his transfer to a civilian clinic.



The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has adopted a landmark resolution on the party’s third-ever “history resolution” issued by the CCP in its 100-year existence; following ones in 1945 and 1981. This resolution is a way for Xi to codify his authority in the present and project his long-lasting power and influence into the future, which also means he has secured a third term in office. Surprisingly, the USA and China have pledged together to boost climate co-operation to achieve the 1.5C temperature goal set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement; activists and politicians are not impressed with this move as it lacks a concrete plan and details.  Xi will be having the first meeting with United States President Joe Biden virtually on Monday since Biden entered the White House in January. This meeting is seen as an attempt to build bridges with Biden amid intensifying competition and heightened tensions between the two parties and much of China’s neighbouring countries. Xi also warned against returning to Cold War-era tensions in the Asia-Pacific region, urging global cooperation ahead of this virtual meeting, with an apparent reference to US efforts with regional allies and partners including the Quad grouping with India, Japan and Australia.


Hong Kong:

Ma Chun-man, known for dressing up as a superhero at pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, was convicted of inciting secession by chanting slogans promoting Hong Kong’s independence from China. Ma is the second person to be jailed under the law, which was passed in 2020 after protests the previous year. It reduces Hong Kong’s autonomy and makes it easier to punish activists. Beijing insists that the widely criticized legislation is needed to bring stability to the city, but critics say it is designed to squash dissent in Hong Kong. The case against Ma, 31, was based on slogans he chanted at rallies, signs he held, and interviews he gave to the media. A Hong Kong court sentenced him to five years and nine months in prison, with the judge accusing Ma of showing no remorse. Security staff evacuated eight people from a Hong Kong court building after a threatening letter containing a highly corrosive substance was sent to a judge who had recently jailed five university students for their roles in a major clash during the 2019 anti-government protests. Police said they received a call from security staff at West Kowloon Court in Cheung Sha Wan at about 4.20 pm over the suspicious letter. The bomb squad was sent to examine the powdered substance and found there was “no danger” of an explosion. The powder, which was later confirmed to be about two grams of caustic soda, was wrapped in aluminum foil. A foul language curse written on a piece of paper was sent with it. Officers removed the substance for further checks. A source said the letter was addressed to Kathie Cheung Kit-yee, a deputy District Court judge.



During a meeting this week, the leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia urged military-ruled Myanmar to “resolve its internal conflict and help stem the flow of Rohingya refugees fleeing to Malaysia.” More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar since August 2017, and around 200,000 have settled in Malaysia in recent years. Malaysia and Indonesia, both part of the Association of Southeast Asian nations (ASEAN) have repeatedly offered to start a dialogue, mediated by a special ASEAN envoy, between the Myanmar military and the opposition forces. However, the military has thus far refused to allow the envoy to meet Aung San Suu Kyi. Meanwhile, during a meeting with the British Foreign Secretary, Indonesia’s Foreign Minister defended the country’s decision to backtrack on the COP26 deforestation pledge. Indonesia was one of the 137 countries in the COP26 that signed an agreement to end deforestation by 2030. However, days later, Indonesia reversed its decision. According to Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. Indonesia is focusing on transforming its forest and land-use sectors to be more sustainable instead, saying that: “I underline that Indonesia does not want to be trapped in rhetoric. We prefer to walk the talk.” Further, activists in Indonesia on Monday, November 8, “condemned a series of threats against the family of a prominent human rights lawyer and urged a thorough police investigation after an explosive package was sent to her parent’s home.” Victoria Koman, who has been living in exile in Australia, is facing charges of incitement and disinformation related to the 2019 protests in West Papua. Since then, according to the Human Rights Watch, Koman and her family have been facing a series of escalating threats for years. This recent incident came two weeks after a flaming package was left at Koman’s parent’s home. On Sunday, another package containing a dead chicken was also sent to the home of a relative, with a note warning them that anyone hiding Koman would also end up dead.



A Thai court ruled that three anti-government activists who had called for reform of the country’s powerful monarchy had violated the constitution by making what it called a veiled attempt to overthrow the institution. The Constitutional Court, ruling in a case brought by a royalist lawyer, said a controversial 10-point call for reforms of the institution by three student protest leaders in August last year was designed to topple the monarchy. “The actions have hidden intentions to overthrow the constitutional monarchy and were not a call for reform,” a court judge said. The court was ruling on the constitutionality of their reform call and imposed no penalty but ordered them and their groups “to cease further action in these matters”. The ruling comes as Thailand defended its controversial law criminalizing criticism of its monarchy following concerns expressed by United Nations member states over its rights record and arrests of young protesters pushing for royal reforms. Nine political parties in Thailand have taken a position on the reform of a strict royal insults law in recent days, bringing into the mainstream a controversial debate that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. The catalyst for the discussion has been a youth-led anti-government protest movement that emerged late last year and openly called for a reform of the monarchy – a bold move in a country that traditionally upholds the king as semi-divine and above criticism. Changing the lese majeste law, which carries punishments of up to 15 years in prison for each perceived insult of the monarchy, had been a subject off-limits for decades in Thailand, where the crown is officially above politics and constitutionally enshrined to be held in “revered worship”. But the opposition Pheu Thai party ignited a discussion on the taboo topic this week, with major parties weighing in quickly after it proposed a parliamentary review of how it said the law was being used to prosecute scores of opponents of the royalist government.



Iranian negotiators have put forth a bargain to western states: agreeing to the ratification of the Paris agreement on climate change on the condition that sanctions against the country are dropped. The country is ranked as the eighth largest CO2 producer, and one of the few countries that has refused to ratify the Paris pact. While the president Ebrahim Raisi chose not to attend the UN climate change summit in Glasgow, the Iranian team came to bargain. The country is one of the most affected by climate change, as the inflow of river water in the country has reduced by 40%%, affecting agriculture, industrial and drinking water. The Iranian team is crying against the cruelty of sanctions, stating “when you have oppressive sanctions in force it does not allow for any kind of imports, even medicine, which is a human fundamental right.”



On November 7th, three explosive drones attempted the assassination of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi. The attack occurred in his residence in the Green Zone. Two of the drones were shot down by security, but the third exploded, injuring seven security guards. It is not reported that the Prime Minister sustained injuries, but in his televised address his wrist was bandaged, suggesting he was injured. The Prime Minister stated that “We maintained security in the country, but some are still trying to tamper with Iraq’s security and want it to be a gang state.” Iraqi officials claim that Iran’s Iraqi Shia militias are responsible – pinning Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq and Kata’ib Hizbollah, two of the most powerful proxies of Iran. Qais al-Khazali, the leader of Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq threatened the Prime Minister publicly on film on Saturday. This occurred after the supporters of Iran-backed militias gathered outside the green zone, the area housing diplomats and high government officials, demanding a recount of the country’s parliamentary elections that they claim are fraudulent. On Thursday, the coalition announced that their supporters would storm the district, and when they did, security forces opened fire at protestors. The leader of the Asaib al-Haq group condemned violence against the stormers and urged for justice. Although the stormers were fired on, they did not disperse. Men pounded the sidewalk into large chunks to throw at security. Calling out to a passerby, a man yelled “Why are you just standing there, Come and stone them with us!”



This Tuesday a Sudanese court has ordered an end to the widespread internet shutdown. After the military shutdown on October 25th, the military cut off online access to thousands of civilians. Since the coup, phone lines and internet access has been blocked. This blackout has unofficially cut many Sudanese from the outside world. General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the leader of the coup, responded to citizens criticism of the blackout by saying that it was an effort to protect Sudanese form the media who instigated the sedition. He went on in a statement to promise that internet services would gradually return. Following a compliant from a Sudanese Consumer Protection Society claiming that the internet blackout was an infringement on Sudanese peoples’ rights a judge ordered Zain, MTN and Sudani to restore all internet services effective immediately.  In a statement on Thursday, General Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan promised he will not seek reelection in July 2023. The coup leader divulged that he is committed to a peaceful transition to power. This revelation by the top leader does not promise that other top military officers will not run for candidacy during the future election.  He stated, “The Armed Forces do not kill its people. Investigation committees were formed and they will establish the truth about what had happened. We insist that the misleading reports were circulated on the grounds of malic against the Armed Forces.” This comes after 14 protesters have been killed and 300 wounded since the coup. Security have been cracking down on anti-coup protesters by firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Demonstrators began building barricades overnight starting on Sunday as they began a two-day protest of civil disobedience in Khartoum. There demands include the military government to immediately reinstate the civilian lead government and subsequently handing over power to the people. Before the two-day protests began a protest on Saturday, 6th of November lead by teachers resulted in many participants apprehended by the security forces. Teachers began their protest near the education ministry.  Police arrived shortly after and immediately fired tear gas and carried batons to strike protesters. The protests are on-going however mediators from the Arab League arrived in the capital of Khartoum to help with peace talks to defuse the crisis.



Around 11,000 Congolese from the Democratic Republic of Congo have fled to Uganda starting Sunday night to escape fighting in the eastern part of the country. According to the UNHCR, this represents the largest refugee influx in a single day for more than a year. In coordination with the UNHCR, Uganda is working to supply resources such as food, sleeping mats and clothing materials to the asylum seekers. Due to COVID-19 Uganda has closed his borders to asylum-seekers however Shabia Mantoo, a UNHCR representative has announced that Uganda has implemented a humanitarian exception to ensure a safe passage for people fleeing the DRC to seek asylum. Uganda hosts more refugees than any other country in Africa and only three countries, globally can take in more refugees. The UNHCR is asking for $335 million this year to ensure proper resources and operations and continue in Uganda however only 45 per cent of the funding has been received. As COVID-19 continues to statistics find that 79% of Uganda favors herbal medicine over other medication treatments. As of June 2021, against the advisement of the World Health Organization (hereinafter:WHO), Uganda as approved the use of Covidex a herbal remedy for the treatment of COVID-19. There is a widespread belief among herbalist and the local Uganda community that medicinal plants do not produce toxic effects. This is a myth however and since these therapies often go unstudied by scientific tests people may under or overdoes. Scholars believe that Ugandan scientists should work collaboratively with the local herbalist community to find scientific and safe drug alternatives. This could help the Uganda economy, health care system and other people all around the world. The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline has had a hiccup in its construction this week. The pandemic has caused many delays as have absentee landlords. The project will stretch 1,443 kilometers from Uganda to Tanzania. While no major construction has begun all the pegs were installed to mark the planed route of the pipeline. The pipeline will disrupt farmland, burial sites, and villages. Much route will run through farmland effectively destroying land that people rely on for food and income. The government says that the economy will see the positive results of the pipeline by 2024 however critics say that compensation to communities who have been effected by the pipeline should be expedited.



President Mnangagwa met 139 other world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland to discuss the ongoing climate crisis during COP26. In his statement the President said that Zimbabwe acknowledge the need to prevent further global warming claiming the country has seen the effects of local temperatures rising by 2 degrees Celsius causing extreme weather. The President returned from the conference on Thursday the Mnangagwa said that developing countries need to agree to stop using coal however they require funding from rich countries to help these countries to transition to cleaner energy sources such as solar, wind, etc.  Local Zimbabwe environmental activists are not as convinced that the President is true to is word regarding the transition to sustainable energy sources. Major contracts with Chinese developers to create coal mines in the country continue in their negotiations. Besides the climate talk this summit has been useful for Zimbabwe to meet global leaders and work out previous tense relations. During the summit President Mnangagwa met with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to discuss a trip to Harare to kick start better relations between the two countries. President Mnangagwa also met with leaders from the European Council, United Nations General Assembly and the US President Joe Biden. One week after a report revealed Zimbabwe to be the worst country to safeguard public policy from the tobacco industry interference, the country has decided to delay negotiations during virtual tobacco treaty talks. These global tobacco treaty talks, previous titled the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, were created to stop the epidemic of tobacco smoking. If fully implemented by all member countries, the treaty could save 50 million lives by 2050. Zimbabwe has been steady in decreasing its smoking rates; around one million Zimbabweans use tobacco products daily and 10,000 people die of tobacco caused disease each year. On Wednesday, November 10th, US President Joe Biden extended his invitation to 100 SADC countries to join a two-day virtual summit on Democracy however he did not invite President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe. The summit was created to drive international collaboration and discuss the challenges facing democracy. According to Freedom House, Zimbabwe has changed their status from last year’s ranking of partly free to not free in 2021.  This was seen as a diplomatic loss for President Mnangagwa after his discussion with President Biden during the COP26 conference.