Zimbabwe’s sports and youth minister, Olympic swimmer Kirsty Coventry, says she will not throw in the towel.
This despite pressure being exerted on her to leave president Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration after citizens were brutalised during protests against a huge fuel hike.
Coventry, a swimming sensation and an Olympic gold medalist, was brought into Mngangwa’s cabinet as he sought to assure the international and regional community the country was under a new dispensation.
What has happened in Zimbabwe has saddened me immensely. I am sorry to everyone that has been affected by the recent events. Violence is never the answer and needs to be investigated and actions taken. We need peace so no one else suffers and we can rebuild our nation together.
I’d like to make it clear that I have not resigned as Minister. Whatever the problems,sport can and should be part of the solution and I will pour my energies into uplifting our Youth, Sports and Arts, until I can no longer be effective and make the impact we need in our country.
Taking to Twitter on Friday, Coventry, the only white person in Mnangagwa’s cabinet, said she endeavours using her sports and youth portfolio to promote peace in Zimbabwe and will not quit.
“I would like to make it clear that I have not resigned as minister. Whatever the problems, sport can and should be part of the solution and I will pour my energies in uplifting our sports, the youth and culture until I can no longer be effective and make the impact we need in our country.”
The rumour mill was awash in Harare that she was under pressure to quit after soldiers and police used live ammunition against citizens during the job stayaway called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union, which brought the country to a halt.
Coventry expressed sadness over the violence, which left six people dead and scores in injured.
According to Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights, more than 30 people have been treated for gunshot wounds.
Tensions continue to escalate amid indications that another national shutdown is on the cards next week, which is likely to coincide with a strike by public sector workers demanding a review of their salaries and better working conditions.