Australian Government upgrades travel warning for Zimbabwe after poltical tension escalates


Zimbabwean-born people living in Perth gathered for a #thisflag event in 2016.
Zimbabwean-born people living in Perth gathered for a #thisflag event in 2016.

THE Australian Government has issued cautionary advice for people travelling in or to Zimbabwe amid escalating political tension.

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said it was closely monitoring political and security developments in the Africa country.

“As a result of escalating domestic political tensions, there are raised levels of military and security activity in Harare, including use of military vehicles,” she said.

“The political and security situation there is evolving and unpredictable.

“We have updated the travel advice for Zimbabwe.

“We continue to advise Australians in Zimbabwe to exercise a high degree of caution.

“Australians in Zimbabwe should continue to be vigilant, avoid large gatherings or protests, monitor local media and follow the direction of local authorities.

“We advise anyone considering travel to Zimbabwe to check the Smartraveller website, subscribe for updates and register their travel.”

The Smartraveller website updated its advice today that people should continue to exercise a high degree of caution in the country.

“There is a heightened security presence in Harare, including military vehicles,” it said.

“The security situation in Zimbabwe is unpredictable. Avoid demonstrations, rallies and large-scale public gatherings as they could turn violent.

“Also avoid political activity or activities which could be construed as political, including political discussions in public places.”

The advice follows reports of military tanks and personnel on the streets in the capital Harare this week.

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces appears to have taken command of the national television and radio station Zimbabwe Broadcast Corporation and issued a statement on its website.

It said the President Robert Mugabe (93) and his family were “safe and sound and their security is guaranteed”.

“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country in order to bring them to justice,” it said.

“We urge you to remain calm and limit unnecessary movement. However, we encourage those who are employed and those with essential business in the city to continue their normal activities as usual.”

About 10,000 Zimbabwean born people live in WA and some gathered in Ascot last year to support the #thisflag campaign calling for an end to economic and political issues that have plagued the country for two decades.

Smart Traveller also warns travellers about the ongoing cash crisis in the country, where the US dollar is most commonly used, poor road conditions and health care.

Visit www.smartraveller.gov.au for updates.