Three representatives of the South African government sent to Zimbabwe to assess the political and security situation in the country following an international outcry over alleged human rights abuses, have returned home after meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa and sidelining opposition parties and civic society organizations.
In a statement, the MDC Alliance and MDC-T spokespersons said they received last minute cancellations of their meetings with the three envoys - former deputy president and speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbete, and former Cabinet ministers Sydney Mufamadi and Ngoako Ramatlhodi - sent by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa.
The MDC Alliance indicated that the envoys only met with Mnangagwa and some top state officials before returning home.
“The MDC Alliance was formally requested to be available for a meeting today, the 10th of August 2020, with the special envoys that were deployed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to Zimbabwe. A delegation remained on standby from 10am this morning only to be advised at the end of the day that the special envoys would be returning to South Africa without meeting the MDC Alliance delegation in order to brief President Ramaphosa on the outcomes of their meeting with Mr. Mnangagwa.”
The MDC Alliance attacked Zanu for allegedly blocking the envoys to meets its representatives.
“We can only assume that the failure to meet the MDC Alliance delegation was as a result of demands made by the Zanu PF delegation. We reiterate that Zimbabwe is in a state of crisis that has been characterized by a de facto gate of emergency a crackdown on citizens, abductions. arbitrary arrests of government critics and the political persecution of journalists.”
The MDC Alliance claimed that the Zimbabweans overnment “is incapable of resolving these challenges because it lacks legitimacy. We are of the firm vim that any solution to the ongoing socio-economic challenges lies in resolving the political crisis and answering the outstanding legitimacy question.
“It is clear that Mr Mnangagwa is not ready to resolve the national crisis through genuine dialogue. However, the deteriorating plight of the Zimbabwean people means that a political settlement is more urgent than before. We will continue to mount pressure on Mr Mnangagwa to engage in sincere dialogue until national crisis is resolved.”
Another opposition party, the MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe also said the envoys left without meeting with its officials.
In a statement, party spokesperson Khaliphani Pugeni, said, “After meeting with His Excellency President E.D Mnangagwa, the South African ambassador H.E Mbete called Dr Khupe, to inform her that the meeting with President Ramaphosa’s envoys has been deferred to a future date. As MDC-T we welcome this development and remain positive that the two leaders in President Ramaphosa and President Mnangagwa will get to the bottom of the issues bedeviling our beautiful nation and Zimbabwe will once again experience peace, unity love and harmony.”
Reacting to opposition parties’ concerns about the return to South Africa of the three envoys, Information Secretary, Nick Mangwana, said in a tweet, “Earlier today I was talking to some former diplomats about Special Envoys. We were recalling HE President sending Special Envoys in the region including when he sent Hon @KazembeKazembe3 to Conakry. All these Special Envoys met the Head of State briefed him/her and went back.”
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights claims that more than 60 people have been arrested and some have gone into hiding following an anti-government protest that was thwarted by state security forces that sealed off most urban areas ahead of the march on July 31.
Some activists have been allegedly badly beaten by the police and soldiers for allegedly attempting to topple a constitutionally-elected government.
President Mnangagwa claimed that the people, who wanted to stage the protest, were malcontents attempting to remove his from office. But political activists say most Zimbabweans are failing to make ends meet due to corruption and economic decay.