By NQOBANI NDLOVU
MATABELELAND civic groups have written to President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sadc, African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) complaining about what they said was a tribal outburst by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa (pictured).
Mutsvangwa invited outrage after her angry outbursts against the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC), singling out its leader Robert Christopher Ndlovu “as the leader of the righteous Ndebele minority pushing a regionalist, genocidal and evil agenda”.
The ZCBC in a pastoral letter on Saturday raised concern over deepening poverty, corruption and human rights violations in the country.
Government has been rubbishing all criticism over the multi-layered crisis bedevilling the country.
Civic society organisations (CSO) in Matabeleland said Mutsvangwa could not be left to go scot-free over her remarks.
“We humbly write to you as a cross-section of civil society in Matabeleland to express our grave concern on the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe, especially with regards to a surge in torture and abductions in general and threats directed against the Ndebele ethnic group in particular and to request that your office takes immediate and robust measures to avert (a) a humanitarian disaster, (b) a potential repeat of genocide, and (c) the total collapse of the rule of law and constitutional safeguards,” the civic groups said in a letter dated August 19.
The letter was copied to Mozambican President Felipe Nyusi in his capacity as Sadc chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat the AU Commission chairperson and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who is also AU chairperson.
It was also copied to Solomon Ayele Dersso chairperson of African Commission for Human and People’s Rights, UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres, Elisabeth Tichy-Fissilberger the UN Human Rights Council chairperson, Ambassador Dian Djani , the president of the UN Security Council and Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, UN General Assembly president.
“The government is showing little or no interest in the human rights and wellbeing of citizens and in protecting minority rights. We have a government that practises outright and brazen tribalism.
“Lately we are witnessing a well-orchestrated systemic marginalisation and discrimination of Ndebele people, general suppression and disregard of the political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights of ethnic and linguistic minorities..,” the civic groups added.
Ramaphosa recently deployed three envoys on a fact-finding mission to the Harare crisis. The envoys only met Mnangagwa, leaving the opposition and other stakeholders seething with anger.