BY SILAS NKALA
Douglas Mwonzora’s MDC-T has claimed that the targeted sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe’s top leadership were hurting the ordinary man in the streets.
But the party’s statement has been blasted by human rights activists who say its leadership was acting as if it was oblivious to the human rights violations that have led the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America to impose targeted sanctions on Zanu PF officials.
Last week, UK slapped State Security minister Owen Ncube, Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Isaac Moyo, Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga and former commander of the Presidential Guard, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Tanzania Anselem Sanyatwe with sanctions over the August 1, 2018 and January 2019 shootings of civilians by soldiers.
MDC-T spokesperson, Witness Dube in a statement on Thursday said the party’s National Standing Committee held its virtual meeting and condemned the sanctions and ruled that they are hurting the common man on the street, among other reservations.
“The party reiterated its position that the continued international isolation was hurting the common man and woman. It therefore calls for the total and equal re-engagement of Zimbabwe with the international community,” Dube said.
“The party reiterated that it stands for the unity of all progressive forces to fight for the betterment of the lives of the Zimbabwean people,” he said.
Dube also said the party reiterated its commitment to national dialogue, which must be inclusive, genuine and unconditional.
He said the party will hold the memorial service of the late Morgan Tsvangirai virtually on February 14.
But critics blasted the MDC-T’s assertions on sanctions, saying that it was a deviation by the party from the principles of their late leader Tsvangirai.
They blasted the MDC-T for being mum on human rights violations, yet quick to find their voices to influence the western countries to lift sanctions imposed on their “Zanu PF allies”.
Ibhetshu likaZulu secretary general Mbuso Fuzwayo said: “As an organisation that represents the victims of human rights violations, especially those that suffered from state violence, we are happy that there are nations that can fight for the weak and the poor. It is clear that there has been no policy shift by the regime in upholding human rights and constitutionalism.
“What the MDC-T is doing is treachery, well it is not surprising because we have those who want to be part of the government even when they have no mandate to represent the voters. They want to appease (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa to consider them in government.”
Human rights activist, Effie Ncube said: “If you arrest and detain people based on non-existent laws and commit other violations, then sanctions will be imposed necessitated by the human rights abuses being committed and failure to respect the Constitution.
“Sanctions are caused by violations and sanctions will stop when violations stop. It is a shame that it has taken sanctions to compel the Zimbabwean government to stop human rights abuses and to uphold Zimbabwean laws and respect Zimbabwean lives.”
He said instead of calling for the lifting of sanctions, the MDC-T must push Zanu PF to respect human rights and the rule of law, stop abductions, unlawful arrests and detentions that have made the sanctions necessary.
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