Some opposition leaders, top musicians and other South Africans have urged the Zimbabwean government to stop arresting civic society activists and opponents suspected to have organized an anti-corruption protest last Friday.
In different tweets on Monday, former leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) kingpin Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, Thuli Madosela and musicians AKA and Casper Nyovest, suggested that the South African government and other nations should intervene to stop the arrest and human rights violations.
In his tweet, EFF leader Julius Sello Matema said, “We call for the removal of the Zimbabwean Embassy in SA until they restore the human rights in that country. Failure to do so, we will prevent any official from the Zimbabwean government from participating in any gathering in SA until they respect ordinary Zimbabweans.”
His views were echoed by Professor Jonathan Moyo, former Zimbabwean Cabinet minister and member of a Zanu PF group that opposed President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rise to the southern African nation’s top political post.
In a tweet, Professor Moyo said, “This is African leadership. True solidarity with the people. Asante sana. Tatenda. Siyabonga. Kea leboha!”
But a person who responded to Malema’s tweet, identified as Tendai Chirau, shot back, saying the protest organizers had a regime-change agenda.
“Upon realising that their machinations are not finding traction in Zim's political space, members of the fallen G40 cabal have now elected to use @Julius_S_Malema
as their proxy. This will not work! Zim is a sovereign state! We will defeat the handled and the handlers!“
At the same time, former DA leader Mmusi Maimane, backed Malema and several other people, who wanted the international community to intervene in Zimbabwe. He seemed to be courting the attention of firebrand talkshow host, Trever Noah.
“Eita @Trevornoah can we find a way to bring global attention to the human rights abuses in Africa. The attacks on black lives in our neighborhood which need global solidarity. A burning topic right now is the arrests of journalists and activists in Zimbabwe #ZimbabweanLivesMatter”
Responding to another person in the same tweeter thread, Maimani said, “The options range from mediations, warnings, sanctions and even military intervention. However right now not enough action is being taken regionally.”
The MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa was also following the tweet. Dr. Nkululeko Sibanda, spokesperson of the MDC Alliance leader, said he was impressed by the South African politician’s views on the current situation in Zimbabwe.
“Thank you so much for hearing our suffering under the violent power of a heart despot. Yesterday, l had 4 AK 47s pointed at me and my colleague by abused soldiers that just wanted money or they would shoot. This is Zimbabwe, am glad the driver did not panic, could be dead.”
But a person, who identified himself as Jay Mbongeni was not impressed by Maimani’s tweet. “Don't think you can write foreign policy on Twitter. You are not even an opposition leader. I am a Zimbabwean and I trust the government to maintain order.”
Kea Mogetswe, who was also following these twitter threads, supported South African politicians and other people that are calling for an end to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe where some civic society leaders and journalists have been arrested for planning anti-corruption protests and uncovering corruption in government corridors.
“I'm South African and right now Zimbabwe's pain is my pain. Such evil can not be ignored. #prayforZimbabwe #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.”
Sibusiso Khumalo, another person who was following the tweets, was not impressed at all about what Malema and others were saying.
Khumalo said, “ZANU PF ingotonga (will rule) they will buck world all round ZANU PF chikara (champion). We voted ZANU PF 2023 we will vote ZANU PF. It's ED Pfeeee until 2028. The is no social media pressure that will remove His Excellence our votes are more powerful.”
Jones Musara was also not impressed. “Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag. This whole plot is about military invasion of Zimbabwe to destroy Zimbabwe lives. #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.”
In what appears to be a direct response to the South Africans’ calls for an end to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, Nick Mangwana, permanent information secretary, said on Twitter, “Sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe have killed many. They have unintended consequences. We need every voice to be heard because, #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.”
Mangwana declined to comment on the issue.
President Mnangagwa said recently that people, who were planning the Friday protest, were “terrorists” with a regime-change agenda.
Several Zanu PF activists claimed that Generation 40 (G40) was spearheading the protest together with MDC Alliance, civic society organizations and several opposition parties.
Jacob Ngarivhume’s party, Transform Zimbabwe, proposed the protest, which were supported by some government opponents nationwide.
Ngarivhume and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono are in remand prison facing charges of inciting people to revolt against the government.
Section 59 of the Zimbabwe Constitution stipulates that “every person has the right to demonstrate and to present petitions, but these rights must be exercised peacefully.”