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Leave us alone: Zanu PF

BY MOSES MATENGA ZANU PF has reacted angrily to the global outcry to stop human rights abuses and accused its critics, including the South Africa’s ruling African National Congress officials of lying. The party’s information director Tafadzwa Mugwadi told South African media on Wednesday that Zimbabwe was at peace and simply enforcing lockdown regulations. He said just like any other country, including South Africa, the security forces had been brutal during lockdown enforcement, but Harare never poked its nose in its neighbours’ businesses. Mugwadi accused the United States of sponsoring and pushing an “anti-Zimbabwe” agenda by “spreading falsehoods” over the situation in Zimbabwe. “We have seen, quite regrettably and unfortunately, that there are social media groups which are funded to go on a specific mission to vilify this country and undermine its leadership,” he said. “You saw this hashtag on social media and senior political leaders in different jurisdictions commenting on issues to do with Zimbabwe, which they are not even aware about, but they cite social media as the source of that information.” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa last week dispatched special envoys to Harare to meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa following a social media #ZimbabweanLivesMatter campaign over abuse of human rights by the Zimbabwean government. A three-member special team that included former Vice-President Baleka Mbete, Advocate Ngoako Abel Ramatlhodi and former Cabinet minister Sydney Mufamadi have since left the country, but Zanu PF has insisted there was no crisis in the country. The African Union and United Nations, among others, have issued a statement condemning rights abuses by the Harare administration after South African opposition parties and ruling party African National Congress officials such as secretary-general Ace Magashule and chairperson of the international relations committee Lindiwe Zulu flagged the country for brutality over its citizens. Despite evidence of abuse of rights ahead of the July 31 protests, Mugwadi said Zimbabwe had nothing to hide and anyone who wanted first-hand information was free to visit the country. However, MDC Alliance secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatywayo said Zimbabwe’s fervent denials were designed to hide its horrific deeds. She also said the MDC Alliance remained keen to meet Ramaphosa’s envoys. “Our understanding of the initiative by President Ramaphosa is that the envoys were supposed to come to Zimbabwe and engage with different stakeholders in relation to the situation in Zimbabwe,” Hlatywayo said. “We received an invitation through the South African embassy to be on standby to meet the special envoys. We sat and only to be told that unfortunately the meeting can be cancelled because the envoys will be going back to South Africa.” She said her party suspected Mnangagwa blocked their meeting with the envoys to try to cover up the truth about human rights abuses in the country.

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