PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa left Zimbabwe early this week for Russia and a number of eastern European countries to sell Zimbabwe as a safe investment destination.
Among other objectives on his itinerary, he intended to pass through Davos, Switzerland, and continue his public relations campaign. The trip seems to have achieved some of its intended objectives after the Kremlin agreed to what the state media said were “mega deals”. If state media reports are to be believed, Russia will get involved in platinum mining. But while the President and his delegation created the impression that they are faring well internationally, on the home front the centre is not holding.
A decision to raise the fuel price by 150% triggered a wave of protests that swept through the country’s high-density suburbs, where some of the country’s most downtrodden low-income earners live.
Before long, the protests had turned violent, setting the stage for what would be deadly confrontation between the police, military and angry protestors, driven to the edge by increasingly expensive goods and diminishing disposable incomes.
Those who had sincerely believed that the August 1 shootings of protestors were not a deliberate and callous strategy to crush dissent have seen how wrong they were.
And this comes barely after the ink on the Kgalema Motlanthe-chaired commission of inquiry report on the August 1 killings of protestors has dried. It is now clear to all and sundry that while Mnangagwa preaches change and a “Second Republic” detached from his predecessor Robert Mugabe, the two are indeed conjoined political twins who have the same murderous inclinations.
The number of those murdered is believed to be above 10 while several others have been injured.
Shocking images of badly injured victims of state-sponsored violence expose the government’s blatant disregard for constitutional order.
As if murdering its own citizens was not enough, government has gone on to perpetrate one of the worst human right affronts that undermine the very system of our bill of rights and trample it underfoot.
State Security minister Owen Ncube on Tuesday ordered the disconnection of the internet. This egregious act effectively plunged Zimbabwe into the dark ages, depriving citizens of freedom of expression and access to information.
Although internet connection was later restored, it has been paralysed by all manner of restrictions.
If anything, events of this week prove that Zimbabwe is not a safe destination for capital. Any country anywhere in the world that has little respect for human life cannot be expected to respect the sanctity of property rights.
The Mnangagwa administration is keen to tell the world that it is “open for business”— and yet its flagrant contravention of the constitution is convincing just about everyone that government has thoroughly squandered the outpouring goodwill we witnessed in November 2017.