By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Zanu PF has reacted angrily to African National Congress (ANC) secretary general Ace Magashule’s television interview, in which he said South Africa’s ruling party was engaging President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s over reports of massive human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
In a statement, Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa warned Magashule against speaking like “Zimbabwe’s prefect”
Chinamasa told the ANC that exiled Zimbabweans Magashule referred to were criminals escaping justice in their country for crimes they committed under the late former president Robert Mugabe.
“We note that this is not the first time a senior ANC leader has sought to speak like Zimbabwe’s prefect.
“Zanu-PF categorically states that Cde Magashule’s utterances were completely out of order. For the record, there is no brutality of whatever form happening in Zimbabwe, but enforcement of lockdown regulations in line with recommendations by the World Health Organisation, our ministry of health and child care and what has become common practice on Covid-19,” Chinamasa said.
The former Finance minister added: “There is no Zimbabwean who was exiled to South Africa by our government nor the party. Referring to fugitives of justice who escaped this country to find a safe haven in South Africa as exiles, when they dodged various corruption crimes committed during the previous administration is not only hypocritical but absolute hogwash.
“To find therefore, a person of the stature of the secretary general of the ANC making such deplorable utterances on the basis of old videos some of which have been imported from situations outside Zimbabwe but attributed to Zimbabwe in the past, being resurrected by keyboard activists is an embarrassment not only to himself but the organization he represents.”
Magashule, in the television interview, had claimed that South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was engaging his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa over human rights abuses in the country.
“We see what is happening in Zimbabwe. The president is interacting with the president of Zimbabwe, worried about what is taking place there.
“We have spoken to some people who are exiled, who have run away from Zimbabwe. That is why we are interacting party to party to raise some of the concerns they have actually raised about what is happening in Zimbabwe,” Magashule said.
Several opposition members and government critics have been arrested in recent days while human rights groups allege security forces have carried out illegal abductions in Zimbabwe.
Political activists took to social media to avert state sponsored arrests, rape, 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.
In an effort to tell ANC to allow Mnangagwa’s government to solve the situation internally, Chinamasa referred to the Marikana Massacre in the North West province in August 2012 when police opened fire on striking mine workers.
“We have seen on social media, videos of South African soldiers beating their non-compliant citizens using fists and sjamboks while in some regrettable circumstances, we have seen them spraying rubber bullets on their citizens resulting in serious injuries and deaths, to the extent that it has been reported that members of the SANDF killed eight citizens in the streets during enforcement operations. Zanu-PF has not uttered a word in public,” said Chinamasa.
Chinamasa added: “We have watched Marikana massacres that remain unprecedented since the turn of the millennium by government forces but we have sought to respect South Africa’s capacity and right to deal with those matters internally.
“We however are taken aback by these latest irresponsible utterances by Cde Magashule, who by all means should have sought clarifications from his counterpart Cde Dr Obert Mpofu, the secretary for administration for Zanu-PF.”
On Thursday, Former Botswana president, Ian Khama endorsed the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter movement to mount pressure on Mnangagwa’s government to act on allegations of gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Ramaphosa has already appointed special envoys to assess the socio-political situation in the country. Nehanda Radio