By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Former Botswana president, Ian Khama has endorsed the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter movement to mount pressure on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to act on allegations of gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Khama expressed worry over the “deteriorating” political, economic and social situation in Zimbabwe. He featured in pictures wearing a trending #ZimbabweanLivesMatter on Thursday.
“As we are all dealing with change in our lives, let’s not forget to pray for our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe as the situation is deteriorating everyday.
“Today I hosted Zimbabweans in Serowe to share thoughts about the current regime and appreciate their plight. Martin Luther King Jr once said, ‘The silence of the good people is more dangerous than the brutality of the bad people.’ So let us all stand with Zimbabwe and condemn this brutality. 🇿🇼✊🏼# ZimbabweanLivesMatter, #PrayForZimbabwe, #FreeZimbabweans,” Khama wrote on Facebook.
After tagging a picture where heavily armed Zimbabwean police were brutalising citizens, Khama likened Mnangagwa’s regime to that of Ian Smith’s Rhodesia in terms of state sponsored violence.
“Was this picture taken during minority rule in Rhodesia or majority rule in Zimbabwe? 🤷🏻♂️
“During Ian Smiths white minority rule in Rhodesia, the police used to clamp down and oppress the black majority. A successful war of liberation was waged to free that majority from oppression and gain independence.
“Now forty years later and under majority rule, nothing seems to have changed for the long suffering people of Zimbabwe other than the name of the county and that of its leaders. Free Zimbabwe! 🇿🇼 ✊🏼, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter, #PrayForZimbabwe, #FreeZimbabweans,” Khama added.
Several opposition members and government critics have been arrested in recent days in Zimbabwe while human rights groups allege security forces have carried out illegal abductions.
The ruling Zanu PF party blames the main opposition MDC Alliance for inviting Western sanctions on the country. But the Western countries blame the ruling regime for human rights abuses.
Political activists took to social media to avert state sponsored arrests, torture and abductions.
A hashtag, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has been trending forcing advocacy networks, celebrities and politicians in Zimbabwe, South Africa and across the world to take information on rights abuses in Zimbabwe and mount pressure on Mnangagwa’s government to act.
Mnangagwa on Tuesday accused opposition political activists and human rights defenders that were pushing for the July 31 anti-corruption protests of being “bad apples” that would be rooted out.
When Mnangagwa took over power from late former president Robert Mugabe through a military coup in November 2017, he promised economic recovery based on respect for human rights.
Three years down the line, the international community is condemning his regime for failing to respect human rights
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has already appointed special envoys to Zimbabwe expected to assess the socio-political situation in the country following reports of massive human rights abuses by the Zanu PF government. Nehanda Radio