PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s jittery administration – battling a multi-source tide over the deteriorating human rights situation in the country – Saturday strongly criticised the African Union Commission AUC after it added its voice in condemning State brutality in Zimbabwe.
AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat early this week issued a statement saying the inter-state regional organisation was deeply worried by the situation in Zimbabwe, brought to the world’s attention by a seismic social media campaign coded #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.
The campaign gathered momentum after government brutally thwarted nationwide protests which had been scheduled for July 31, arresting the main organiser Jacob Ngarivhume, journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, and sending dozens more of its critics into hiding.
However, Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, responding to Mahamat, said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe of a magnitude warranting the AU’s attention.
Even if there was, Moyo said, Mahamat could have used the rightful channels to convey his message.
“I write to express my surprise and concern over the statement issued in your name, on 7 August 2020, concerning the situation in Zimbabwe which appears to lend credence to the raft of erroneous and highly misleading reports circulating on a variety of social media platforms, deliberately placed so as to cause embarrassment to my country and its leadership,” Moyo wrote.
“Let me stress, at the outset, that there is no crisis in Zimbabwe neither are there any human rights violations as purported in your statement.
“The innuendoes and insinuations contained therein could have been avoided had AUC done some due diligence.
“While my country is not averse to justifiable or evidence based on criticism, the rules of natural justice and common courtesy demand that you hear the other side before making any conclusions.
“This did not happen in this case, notwithstanding the fact that H.E the President, myself and the Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe in Addis Ababa are always at your disposal to consult and clarify matters,” Moyo’s statement reads.
Moyo told Mahamat that by failing to consult with the regional body, SADC, he had jumped the gun.
“The principle of subsidiarity demands that the chairperson should have consulted with the sub-regional organisation SADC in order to clearly establish the true facts on the ground before such a statement was issued.
“I am sure SADC would have clarified matters and put the attacks against Zimbabwe in their true context,” Moyo wrote.
“The fact that the statement was issued shortly after a visit to AU Headquarters by the British Minister of Africa and reflects a disturbing alignment with the United Kingdom’s well-known negative perspective on Zimbabwe and London’s abiding antipathy towards Zanu PF,” he further said.