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African National Congress, United Nations Speak Out on Zimbabwe Political Crisis

FILE: South-African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses South African Parliament on May 22, 2019 in Cape Town.
FILE: South-African President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses South African Parliament on May 22, 2019 in Cape Town.

A senior official of the ruling African National Congress in South Africa says President Cyril Ramaphosa is engaging President Emmerson Mnangagwa on alleged human rights violations in Zimbabwe where over 60 people have been arrested and some of them brutalized by suspected state security agents following the July 31 foiled anti-corruption protests.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule told eNCA that they are closely monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe, noting that “what is happening it’s uncalled for.”

Magashule said they will discuss the issue at party level and advise Ramaphosa and government in a manner that would assist in tackling the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

At the same time, the president’s office noted that Ramaphosa is expected to take action only if the country is called to intervene.

In Botswana, President Mokgweetsi Masisi told reporters in Gaborone that the Zimbabwean situation can only be handled by the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community and not the Troika Organ on Politics and Security.

United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres also added his voice to the Zimbabwe crisis, saying he is concerned about what is happening in the country.

In a statement, his spokesperson said, “The Secretary-General has been following with concern recent developments in Zimbabwe. He urges the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure the protection of all fundamental human rights, notably the freedom of opinion and expression and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, in accordance with Zimbabwe’s human rights obligations. He also calls on all political actors and civil society to resolve issues peacefully through inclusive dialogue.”

Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, former Democratic Alliance president Mmusi Maimane, several top people in South Africa, started a campaign recently dubbed #ZimbabweLivesMatter following the alleged brutalization of civillians by the Mnangagwa government.

The campaign has gone viral on social media with many people worldwide calling for an end of suspected state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe.

But Information Secretary Nick Mangwana dismissed claims of a crackdown on dissent as a well-orchestrated regime change agenda being peddled by locals and the West for their own political purposes.

In a statement, Mangwana said, “To set the record straight, there is no crisis or implosion in Zimbabwe. Neither has there been any abduction or “war” on citizens. Like any other country in the world, Zimbabwe has been enforcing Covid-19 regulations intended to safeguard and protect the lives of all citizens. Where necessary, the law has been fairly applied.”

He further claimed that “Zimbabwe today, is peaceful and all citizens are free to go about their business as usual, within boundaries set by the lockdown regulations. His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Second Republic believes in upholding the rule of law and freedom of speech. Indeed, it is the freedom of speech that is being unfortunately abused by those who seek to push a sinister political agenda.”

Zimbabweans planned to stage an anti-corruption protest on July 31, which was stopped by state security forces.