By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
The “Opposition of Botswana” party has condemned reports of human rights abuses by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and vowed to be associated with the online movement #ZimbabweanLivesMatter to pressure the under-fire Zanu PF regime to act.
In a statement seen by Nehanda Radio, Opposition of Botswana leader, Dumelang Saleshando rebuked Mnangagwa for allowing state sponsored violence against activists in Zimbabwe.
Saleshando added as the official opposition, they were going to mobilise the civil society in Botswana to pressure the government of Zimbabwe.
“We further urge civil society in Botswana to rise and mobilise in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe. We urge the unions, clergy, student formations and other pro-democracy NGOs to come up with ways to pile pressure on the ZANU PF regime.
“To our civil society and NGOs we say silence and inaction is not the answer. Today it is Zimbabwe, tomorrow it could be Botswana; and would it be proper for others to shrug their shoulders and say it’s a Botswana problem and has nothing to do with us?
“As we raise our voice in indignation, we also wish to state that we also wish to state that we too associate ourselves with the globally trending hashtag #Zimbabwean Lives Matter,” read the statement.
Zimbabwe is currently experiencing massive human rights violations perpetrated by Mnangagwa’s regime which is battling an economic crisis partly blamed on corruption and mismanagement.
Over 60 people have been arrested and some of them brutalized by suspected state security agents following the 31st July anti-corruption protests.
Several opposition members and government critics have been arrested in recent days while human rights groups allege security forces have carried out illegal abductions.
Political activists took to social media to expose state sponsored arrests, rape, torture and abductions.
A hashtag, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has been trending forcing advocacy networks, celebrities and politicians in Zimbabwe and across the world to take information on rights abuses in Zimbabwe and mount pressure on Mnangagwa’s government to change behavior towards dissenting voices.
The “Opposition of Botswana” party added that their conscience and principles did not permit them, as the official opposition to remain silent in circumstances where the Zimbabwean state has embarked on a brutal and savage crackdown of its “long suffering citizens.”
“Since pro-democracy and anti-corruption organisations in that country resolved to mobilise the citizenry to take part in peaceful protests which were scheduled for 31st July 2020, the state seems to have lost its sanity and all sense of international shame.
“Instead of granting audience and finding solutions to the plight of a people bearing the brunt of a collapsed economy, lack of liquidity, rampant unemployment, unbridled corruption and shortage of goods and services including basic foods and medicines in this terrible time of Covid-19, the default reaction of ZANU PF has been to turn to state sponsored violence.
“This, we see manifesting itself on a daily basis through abductions, assaults, illegal detentions and surveillance of citizens, including journalists and civil activists behind the campaign.
“Since independence, Zimbabwe has always been a repressive state with its people now accustomed to being victims of their own government at regular intervals under ZANU PF leadership.
“As neighbours, we have witnessed the Gukurahundi mass massacres of 20 000 Zimbabweans in Matebeleland and the Midlands. Not a single perpetrator was ever brought to account for what qualifies to be crimes against humanity.
“This tragic chapter was followed by the imposition of a de facto one-party state which demonstrated its ugly colours in a series of rigged elections, with its main challenger, the MDC being at the receiving end of state driven abductions, unexplained disappearances and killings,” read the statement. Nehanda Radio