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Opinion

Zimbabwean lives matter! Yet, deafening silence from regional superpower SA

5 August 2020 9:37 AM
Tags:
Zimbabwe
Amnesty International
Refilwe Moloto
Zimbabwean
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
Emmerson Mnangangwa
Amnesty International Southern Africa
Media Institute
Deprose Muchena
#ZimbabweanLivesMatter

Zimbabweans are mobilising against the state’s brutal attacks, but seek regional solidarity, says Amnesty International SA.

When Zimbabwe sneezes, South Africa catches a cold, some say.

Our interests are inextricably intertwined with those of our gravely ill northern neighbour.

It’s near impossible to find accurate statistics, but millions of Zimbabweans have fled their country (population: 16 million) since it started collapsing in the early 2000s.

The corrupt state violently crushes protests against it.

On Tuesday, Zimbabwe’s Media Institute recounted tales of brutal abductions of journalists targeted for reporting on the state’s crimes.

President Emmerson Mnangangwa, in a nationwide address on Tuesday, defended his government, blaming a small minority in his administration for stalling his attempts at reform.

"My administration has faced many hurdles and attacks,” said Mnangangwa.

“Including the divisive politics of some opposition elements, the illegal economic sanctions, cyclones, droughts and, more recently, the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

“Detractors fear the inevitable imminent success of our reforms,” he said.

“Although our progress has been slowed down, rest assured we’ll achieve our objectives. We will overcome! We will defeat the attack and stop the bleeding of our economy.”

Refilwe Moloto interviewed Deprose Muchena, Director at Amnesty International Southern Africa.

The President is either out of touch with the reality of the country he governs, or he’s surrounded by people who give him the advice he prefers to hear…

Deprose Muchena, Director - Amnesty International Southern Africa

The government has unleashed a massive crackdown in response to citizens protesting… the deployment of maximum force to undermine any kind of dissent…

Deprose Muchena, Director - Amnesty International Southern Africa

Citizens are mobilising to raise the cost of this sort of behaviour that undermines human rights. They’re seeking regional solidarity to ensure their voices don’t die down.

Deprose Muchena, Director - Amnesty International Southern Africa

Developments in Zimbabwe spill over into the region… [yet] we see silence from the [government of the] biggest economy, South Africa…

Deprose Muchena, Director - Amnesty International Southern Africa

What is encouraging, though, is that ordinary citizens are not convinced by official narratives that characterises the origin and nature of the crisis in Zimbabwe as a foreign hand when we know that the state itself, its policies, the arresting of journalists and opposition activists is the source of the tension…

Deprose Muchena, Director - Amnesty International Southern Africa

We document human rights violations daily… It’s translating into active solidarity… The President can feel the pressure from Zambia, from Botswana, from Malawi, from Swaziland, from Lesotho. Regional citizens are demanding an end to the crackdown on unarmed civilians. They demand their governments dissociate… opposition groups in South Africa are challenging their government… There’s been a dramatic international response to attacks on Zimbabweans…

Deprose Muchena, Director - Amnesty International Southern Africa

Local courts have been thoroughly compromised…

Deprose Muchena, Director - Amnesty International Southern Africa

Listen to the interview in the audio below.


5 August 2020 9:37 AM
Tags:
Zimbabwe
Amnesty International
Refilwe Moloto
Zimbabwean
Breakfast with Refilwe Moloto
Emmerson Mnangangwa
Amnesty International Southern Africa
Media Institute
Deprose Muchena
#ZimbabweanLivesMatter

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