19 January 2019

Zimbabwe: Sports Minister Kirsty Coventry Denies Quitting Her Job

KIRSTY Coventry has dismissed social media claims she has stepped down as the country's sports minister following the Zanu PF led government's brutal crackdown on citizens who were protesting a recent hike in fuel prices recently.

Those who claimed she had abandoned her lofty government job said the country's swimming legend had also dropped the title "Minister of Sports" from her Twitter handle.

But Coventry took to the same platform to distance herself from any plans to quit her job.

"I would like to make it clear that I have not resigned as minister," she posted on Twitter.

"Whatever the problems, sports can and should be part of the solution and I will pour my energies into uplifting our Youths, Sports and Arts, until I can no longer be effective and make the impact.

"What happened in Zimbabwe has saddened me immensely. I am sorry to everyone that has been affected by the recent event."

In rare public comments on the country's bitter political situation, Coventry also said the violence that rocked the country during a massive job stay away beginning of the week must be investigated.

"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."

Coventry has touched the hearts of many Zimbabweans through her humble character and her love for country which she has served in her pursuit to becoming the country's most successful athlete in the Olympics.

Her association with a cabinet filled with Zanu PF politicians linked to corruption and rights violations was received with mixed feelings among locals who felt this could taint her image.

Pressure mounted for her to dump the Emmerson Mnangagwa led administration which has come under fire for its heavy handed reaction to angry protests by locals over a recent fuel price hike by the Zimbabwean leader.

Official reports say three people including a police officer died during the skirmishes but independent estimates by local NGOs put the death toll to a dozen.

Rights groups have further accused the state of dragging to court many protesters who were still nursing injuries sustained through torture by the country's security forces.

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