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MDC-A writes to UN about Alena Douhan’s ‘pre-prepared, prepaid’ statement

"What we just don't understand is whether she is just plain illiterate or plain dishonest," Tendai Biti

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

MDC Alliance has written to the United Nations (UN) in New York complaining about the conduct of its special rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Alena Douhan during her ten day visit in Zimbabwe.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan unexpectedly told President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to "abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an advocacy tool"
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan seen here with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Douhan ended her visit to the southern African country on Wednesday after completing two-weeks holding meetings with government officials, opposition and some interest groups.

Addressing journalists at Biti Law Chambers in Harare on Friday, MDC Alliance vice president Tendai Biti said the statement that Douhan read at the end of her mission on Thursday was pre-prepared because it did not cover their engagement.

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“We have substantive concerns. I want to place it on record that as a party we have written a formal letter of complaint to New York, to the UN about the conduct of Ms Douhan. Her omissions and commissions and we hope that the UN will formally carry out an investigation to validate our complaints.

We believe that we are an important stakeholder in this country. We are the biggest political party in this country. Our president polled over 2.6 million votes in 2018. Therefore we have a legitimate footing on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe that we represent home and abroad,” Biti said.

In her final report that she will present to the United Nations Human Rights Council during its 51st Session in September 2022, Douhan slammed the United States and EU sanctions on Zimbabwe citing that they infringe the country’s right to development.

Biti said the UN envoy’s statement was dominated by government officials and was one-sided. He added that Douhan had been paid to support the government’s stance on sanctions.

Douhan, in her last report, actually admitted that she snubbed the MDC Alliance contributions in her interim statement released on Wednesday night.

“The first complaint we have is related to the bias in the consultations by the United Nations special rapporteur. If you look at her programme which is public, it was dominated by public authorities. So it is as if she came with a mindset of doing a one-sided subjective consultation with the government and its officials. The reference to consultations with political parties and us in particular was just lipstick indifferent.

“We saw her on Wednesday for two hours. But we find it ridiculous that we were the last group to see her. There was nothing but a footnote in the process of her consultation. What also amused us further is that immediately after we left that meeting which was held at the UN office we collided with the publication of her interim statement yet during the meeting she had asked for more documents from us.

“She had given us assurance that whatever representation we were making would be taken on board in the presentation of her statement the following day, the 28th of October 2021. Her statement was prepaid and pre-manufactured. We actually believe that she wrote that statement before she came here.

“Her report she presented yesterday shows that it represents a cut and paste job from her previous reports in Venezuela and in Syria,” Biti said.

He added that MDC Alliance found the report “full of contradictions and technical distortions. What we just don’t understand is whether she is just plain illiterate or plain dishonest.

“But given the impressive array of her academic qualifications, we would like to think that it’s deliberate dishonesty. She is quick to define the measures against Zimbabwe as unilateral. The first challenge with that is that it is simply not true,” Biti said. Nehanda Radio