A top Zimbabwean state official has questioned the silence of the West over the deteriorating social, economic and political situation in South Africa and eSwatini while President Emmerson Mnangagwa is appealing for calm in the two southern African nations.
In a tweet, Information Secretary Nick Mangwana said it is interesting to note that the West has been silent about public protests and looting in South Africa and eSwatini.
Mangwana said, “Don’t get me wrong. We are not looking for their voice. Let be silent. But when it’s silent on Eswatini, and it’s silent on South Africa, why are the decibels tuned up to full watts when there is sneezing in Zimbabwe? Is it because we are thought leaders, about the Land or both?”
Reacting to his tweet, a person identified as Sotsha Ngulube fired back, saying Mangwana should be reminded about the operations of the Zimbabwe National Army, which shot and killed some people in Harare in 2018 and 2019 during public protests.
Ngulube said, “Nick did you see SA police or Army shooting citizens at 45 degrees??? So Far, SA police & Army have been different from Zim. You should only compare Zimbabwe with Eswatini because the regime there behaved like ZanuPF, they turned off the internet & started brutalizing citizens.”
Milner Chaka also attacked Mangwana on the Twitter thread, claiming that some Zimbabweans living in South Africa are also looting goods.
Chaka said, “The irony is no property was looted and no South Africans participated in the 19 August disturbances. Zimbabweans are heavily involved in looting in South Africa. Undocumented people have quadrupled under this regime yet ED had promised SA things would improve.”
At the same time, in a message on his Twitter handle, President Mnangagwa appealed for calm in South Africa.
“On behalf of all Zimbabweans, both at home and abroad, we wish that the current challenges plaguing our South African brothers and sisters are resolved peacefully. Only when there is peace in South Africa, is there peace in our region.”
Protests erupted in South Africa following the jailing of former South African president, Jacob Zuma, for contempt of court. The Constitutional Court sentenced him to 15 months in prison for declining to appear before a Raymond Zondo Commission of Inquiry probing alleged graft charges laid against the former South African president. Zuma demanded that Zondo should recuse himself as the two had previous clashes over family matters.
The West imposed targeted sanctions on some Zanu PF officials for alleged human rights violations and election rigging.
Pro-democracy groups have protested in eSwatini demanding political reforms. They are claiming that King Swati III is violating people’s rights with impunity. But the eSwatini government has denied any wrongdoing.