By Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka
A man does not chase rats when his house is burning, so goes a West African proverb.
Amid the State-sanctioned proscription of citizen rights and midnight abductions of innocent citizens in Zimbabwe, SADC heads of State in Tanzania chose to concentrate on the sanctions imposed on Harare by Europe and the United States.
It was lost on the SADC leaders that the gross violation of human rights, such as the ones committed by the Mnangagwa administration barely a few hours after his stolen victory on August 1 2018, is exactly the same reason for which Zimbabwe had been placed under sanctions.
As I write, ordinary citizens, artistes, politicians and even elected MPs are not sleeping in their homes for fear of being abducted by State apparitchiks. Only last night, popular comedian Samantha Kureya, popularly known as Gonyeti, was abducted in the dead of the night after she had recorded a skit criticizing police officers for assaulting innocent civilians.
At its summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, last weekend, SADC resolved to set aside 25 October as a solidarity day meant to conduct various activities against what the regional body deemed to be illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Two days before the summit issued its communiqué; Harare was a bloodbath as the State went on the rampage assaulting innocent citizens for exercising their democratic right to peaceful protests.
In Bulawayo, in a mere 24hours, seven people were abducted, tortured and left dumped in places far away from their homes.
Yet SADC chose to give a blind eye to the bloodbath in Harare, the callous murder of innocent citizens on 1 August 2018 and the State clampdown on innocent citizens which left 17 people dead in January 2019.
No mention at all of these heinous crimes at the SADC summit in Dar.
The SADC Heads of State and government ignored the butchering of innocent people by the Mnangagwa regime on August 1 for which even the self-serving and duplicitous Mothlante commission held the police and the military liable. No action has been taken against the culprits in line with the Commission’s recommendations.
And our esteemed SADC leaders chose to turn a blind eye to all this!
SADC totally ignored the brutal murder of 17 innocent Zimbabweans in which the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission held elements within the police and the military liable.
It is astounding that Mnangagwa’s affinity for human blood has not shaken the hearts and minds of our esteemed SADC leaders. Indeed, Mnangagwa’s administration is turning out to be a sanguinarian, vampire regime.
SADC ignored the sanctions that this regime has imposed on the people to proscribe their democratic rights of speech and assembly.
It is those sanctions that must go first!
SADC ignored the sanctions that the public media have put on a legitimate political party represented in Parliament. Only recently, the High Court ruled that the public media was overtly biased towards Zanu PF in the run-up to the 2018 election, in brazen violation of the Constitutional provision exhorting them to be impartial and to present divergent views and opinions.
In short, the public media placed the MDC under illegal and unconstitutional sanctions and it is those sanctions that must go first before we go international in our quest to deal with sanctions.
SADC chose to be impervious to all these prohibitions and sanctions that this regime has placed on the people.
Charity begins at home.
In fact, it is those local sanctions and the gross violations of human rights that invited those external sanctions that SADC appears to be so much worried about.
Yet it is obvious that once we deal with the gross human violations and the internal sanctions, the external ones will definitely go.
As Mnangagwa’s administration butchers people, SADC chooses to train its eyes outside of Africa to concentrate on external sanctions, ignoring the internal sanctions that have become a threat to the citizens’ collective security.
SADC must act against the sanguinarian vampirism of Mnangagwa’s administration that has become a threat to innocent Zimbabweans.
And they even have the temerity to make Mnangagwa the chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security when Zimbabweans are defenceless and insecure under his regime!
This piranha administration will certainly go.
No amount of sanguinary vampirism will stand in the way of change whose hour has come.
It is only a matter of time.
Luke Batsirai Tamborinyoka is the Deputy National Spokesperson of the MDC. He is a multiple award-winning journalist and an ardent political scientist. You can interact with him on Facebook or on the twitter handle @luke_tambo.