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Ramaphosa should travel to Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
12 Aug 2020 at 16:13hrs | Views
African Union chairman and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa should travel to Zimbabwe and seek a solution to the ongoing human rights abuses and political paralysis, South Africa's main opposition Democratic Alliance said on Tuesday.

The DA made the call after three special envoys sent by Ramaphosa to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa and "relevant stakeholders" returned home after meeting only the 77-year-old, who told them there was "no crisis in Zimbabwe".

The DA said Mnangagwa's move to stop the envoys from meeting with opposition parties and rights groups "was not only disrespectful to the office of the African Union chairperson, which Ramaphosa currently holds, but seems to confirm that the voices of the opposition and civil society are being muzzled in Zimbabwe."

"The Democratic Alliance now calls on President Ramaphosa, in his capacity as AU chairperson, to show leadership and go to Harare and meet with all the relevant stakeholders and get a balanced picture of the political crisis unfolding in the country," the DA said in a statement.

Zimbabwe's security services recently deployed to thwart anti-government protests, arresting and abducting Mnangagwa's rivals as well as journalists and trade union leaders.

The clampdown has sparked international outrage and shed light on long-standing social and economic woes which have left Mnangagwa facing his biggest test yet since seizing power through a military coup in November 2017.

Many Zimbabweans complain that the situation has grown worse since Mnangagwa took power.

The president has struggled to redress galloping inflation of 737 percent that has wiped out savings and rendered basic goods unaffordable to most.

This year, economic hardship has been exacerbated by drought and the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly two-thirds of Zimbabwe's 14.4 million inhabitants are predicted to face hunger by the end of 2020, according to the UN's World Food Programme.

Mnangagwa denies he has failed, instead he blames "detractors, divisive elements and enemies."

In a televised address on Tuesday marking the Defence Forces Day holiday, Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was facing a "wave of aggression manifesting through illegal sanctions, hostile anti-Zimbabwe propaganda mounted on social media platforms and other forms of asymmetrical warfare."

His officials, in private briefings, have accused South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete of "jumping the gun" by organising meetings for the envoys with the opposition without checking with Mnangagwa's office.

But Mnangagwa's rivals insist that he blocked the envoys from meeting opposition parties to hide his regime's rights abuses.

"For him to claim that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe and ask that the envoys sent by the AU chairperson turn around and go back without meeting the opposition, is a poor attempt at covering up the actions of his murderous regime," the DA said.

"For far too long, successive ANC governments have stood by as Zanu-PF has trampled civil liberties with impunity and disregard for the rule of law. The ANC has played an enabling role in the Zimbabwe crisis by glossing over state brutality in the country and its mismanagement of the economy.

"President Ramaphosa faces the first real test in his chairmanship of the AU. He will have to make a choice on whether to stand with the people of Zimbabwe against the tyranny of Zanu-PF or continue with the failed policy of ‘quiet diplomacy'."

Source - zimlive