BY XOLISANI NCUBE/VENERANDA LANGA
South African opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane yesterday requested a meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa to discuss reports of a violent State clampdown on protesting Zimbabweans.
Maimane has been pushing South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the Zimbabwe crisis following the heavy-handedness of security forces during recent protests against fuel price hikes of 150%.
The DA leader said he wants to come to Harare and engage Mnangagwa before taking the matter to the United Nations.
“The situation in Zimbabwe is dire. Widespread civilian suppression, military-led violence, and bloodshed has ensued. Hundreds arrested and detained by government authorities. Assault, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment of citizens continue while President Ramaphosa sits on his hands and refuses to take action,” Maimane told News24 after he delivered a letter at the Zimbabwe embassy in South Africa requesting for a meeting with Mnangagwa.
Maimane said in view of failure to act by the Southern African Development Community and African Union, he was intervening as the chairperson of the South African Partnership for Democratic Change, a grouping of opposition parties in the region.
MDC Alliance legislator Innocent Gonese on Tuesday warned that Mnangagwa risked being arraigned before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for trial over Statesanctioned human rights violations.
“In terms of section 213 (of the Constitution) on deployment of Defence forces, there is provision for deployment, but that there should be political accountability and that the incumbent Head of State must first go to Parliament to inform MPs of the deployment,” he said.
Gonese said if the deployment happened on Mnangagwa’s orders on January 14, the Zanu PF leader must have promptly recalled Parliament to give them the details of the deployment, which resulted in soldiers doing policing activities that are not part of their mandate.
“Even legal practitioners demonstrated because of violation of the Constitution. There is no political confusion because these are lawyers that are appalled by violation of human rights where accused persons are not given rights to legal representation and a free trial,” he said.
“We also have a situation in the country where mass trials are being ordered, juveniles are being tried, women raped, and it is a shame.”
Gonese said opposition MPs were “being hunted down from their homes without an iota of evidence”.
“Zimbabwe should be taken to the ICC for gross violation of human rights,” he said.
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Tsitsi Gezi said the issue would be looked into during the course of the week before a ruling is made.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa this week said government was committed to protecting its citizens.