Zimbabwean lives matter

THE government has lost all credibility and the latest crude moves by officials to criminalise dissent can only worsen what is already an untenable situation.
A diplomatic effort to re-engage with the international community now lies in ruin. Nobody wants to embrace an unrepentant mass murderer whose hands are dripping with the blood of innocents. The repercussions of brutalising unarmed civilians are dire.

As the phenomenally successful social media hashtag campaign #ZimbabweanLivesMatter has shown, the world will no longer ignore what is happening in this country.

Increasingly, the global community is reminding Zanu PF that there will be a heavy price to pay for gross human rights violations.

This week, the politically connected tycoon Kudakwashe Regimond Tagwirei and his company Sakunda Holdings were slapped with sanctions by the United States Treasury. Corrupt and incompetent political leaders may feel untouchable today but, as sure as the sun rises tomorrow, the day of reckoning is coming. History teaches us that impunity is unsustainable.

Ace Magashule, the secretary-general of the governing African National Congress, yesterday shed light into the ongoing discussions between the governments of South Africa and Zimbabwe. Asked by a journalist to comment on the brutal violence meted out by police and soldiers on unarmed civilians including women, Mahashule condemned the gross violation of human rights.

“We have discussed Zimbabwe. We are going to have a special session to engage on Zimbabwe, we see what is happening in Zimbabwe.

The President (of South Africa) is engaging with the President of Zimbabwe, worried about what is taking place there.”

He then raised a very important point the media has always emphasised: the atrocious violation of human rights in Zimbabwe will directly affect South Africa.
“It will have a spill over to South Africa. And so we will assist the Zimbabweans to stabilise their country, their economy. We have a role to play as South Africa, as AU and as the party, the African National Congress.”

Magashule made a crucial revelation pertaining to the manner in which the South African leadership is gathering information on what is transpiring in this country. Among other sources of information—such as diplomatic channels and exiled citizens — he said they are kept abreast with what is happening in Zimbabwe by the media.

A free media is a cornerstone of democracy. To play this decisive role, journalists must be allowed unfettered room to report truthfully without fear of victimisation. It is a sad indictment on the Zanu PF government that journalists who are exposing corruption are being persecuted.

Magashule says the brutality of the Zimbabwean government “is uncalled for”. Although the ANC has been slow in speaking out—compared to the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters which has commendably denounced the murderous Harare government — the South African authorities must now abandon their shameful stance of quiet diplomacy and speak out forthrightly against human rights violations. Zimbabweans lives matter!

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