South Africa sent an envoy to Zimbabwe. But, is South Africa ignoring the real problems in Zimbabwe? The hasty South African envoy delegation sent to Zimbabwe in early August appears to have been stonewalled. Moreover, a Zimbabwean journalist says the trip was “a waste of jet fuel.”
South Africa President Ramaphosa’s brief seemingly ignored
Importantly, the statement of appointment issued by President Ramaphosa’s office on 6th August 2020, specifically outlined engagement with “the government of Zimbabwe and relevant stakeholders to identify possible ways in which South Africa can assist Zimbabwe.” Seemingly, the visit was a brief interlude amongst old friends in President Mnangagwa’s office. Baleka Mbete is reported as being a personal friend to Mnangagwa. Additionally, the envoy failed to engage with “relevant stakeholders” as neither opposition parties nor political prisoners were engaged.
MDC ignored by the envoy
The MDC (Zimbabwean opposition) was on standby to meet with the South Africa envoy. Importantly, the envoy failed to honour the meeting. Subsequently, in an interview on eNCA, the head of Zimbabwe’s Editors Forum expressed surprise at the snub. Word is that President Mnangagwa allegedly didn’t the want the envoy to talk to the opposition.
Ramaphosa proposed AID package for Zimbabwe from South Africa
As a result, of the envoy’s report back, President Rampaphosa offered an aid package to Zanu-PF. Furthermore, it appears to be being offered with no conditions. Zimbabwean journalists and activists are unhappy. Grace Kwinjeh, a Zimbabwean living in Europe says the package needs conditions in order to be effective for the people of Zimbabwe.
Journalists and opposition politicians remain in jail
Meanwhile, ZANU-PF is using COVID-19 to jail journalists. Hopewell Chin’ono posted articles revealing realities around life in ZImbabwe. Seemingly, this targeted him as being anti the ruling party. Additionally, Chin’ono called for a peaceful protest on July 31st. Interestingly, Lawyers say Chin’ono endures inhumane conditions normally reserved for murderers. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, Zimbabwe’s Lawyers for Human rights say Chin’ono and Ngarivhume are denied medicine, warm clothing or food from outside the prison.
Furthermore, as a matter of course, beatings and humiliation is seemingly the standard treatment for activists. Recently, Human rights lawyers estimate as many as 1000 people have been targeted.
Moreover, an aid package to Zimbabwe is likely to displease South Africans. Additionally, South Africans resent the number of Zimbabwean refugees pouring through leaky border fences into South Africa. Furthermore, the South African government is well aware of the refugee problem. Importantly, an aid package without human rights conditions attached may exacerbate the refugee problem.
What do you think? Have your say.