By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo has dismissed the African Union Commission’s statement about human rights abuses perpetrated by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime as based on “erroneous and highly misleading social media reports that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe.”
In a statement Saturday, Moyo strongly criticised African Union Commission AUC Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat for failing to consult with the regional body, SADC, when he issued a statement condemning Mnangagwa’s under-fire administration for massive human rights abuses.
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.
Moyo, told Mahamat that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe of a magnitude warranting the AU’s attention.
“I write to express my surprise and concern over the statement issued in your name, on 7 August 2020, concerning the situation in Zimbabwe which appears to lend credence to the raft of erroneous and highly misleading reports circulating on a variety of social media platforms, deliberately placed so as to cause embarrassment to my country and its leadership.
“Let me stress, at the outset, that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe neither are there any human rights violations as purported in your statement.
“The innuendoes and insinuations contained therein could have been avoided had AUC done some due diligence.
“While my country is not averse to justifiable or evidence based on criticism, the rules of natural justice and common courtesy demand that you hear the other side before making any conclusions.
“This did not happen in this case, notwithstanding the fact that H.E the President, myself and the Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe in Addis Ababa are always at your disposal to consult and clarify matters.
“The principle of subsidiarity demands that the chairperson should have consulted with the sub-regional organisation SADC in order to clearly establish the true facts on the ground before such a statement was issued.
“I am sure SADC would have clarified matters and put the attacks against Zimbabwe in their true context,” Moyo said in a statement.
Moyo added, “the fact that the statement was issued shortly after a visit to AU Headquarters by the British Minister of Africa and reflects a disturbing alignment with the United Kingdom’s well-known negative perspective on Zimbabwe and London’s abiding antipathy towards Zanu-PF,” Moyo said.
Recently, investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono was arrested and charged with inciting violence.
Chin’ono played a key role in exposing President Emmerson Mnangagwa, his son Collins and his wife Auxilia in massive allegations of corruption, the US$60m Drax Covidgate scandal.
The fallout saw the arrest and dismissal of former Health Minister Obadiah Moyo. But Chin’ono was also arrested together with opposition Transform Zimbabwe leader Jacob Ngarivhume.
They were charged for inciting violence, in connection with 31st July protests against corruption.
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 and subsequent removal of sanctions.
Three years down the line, the international community is condemning his regime for failing to respect human rights. Nehanda Radio