Cape Town — A delegation consisting of South African officials Baleka Mbete, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, and Sydney Mufamadi failed to attend a meeting with Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, upsetting the opposition’s leaders, BBC reports.
The envoys did, however, meet President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Sunday shortly after arriving in the country. Information Secretary Nick Mnangagwa tweeted images of the meeting. Former parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete, senior African National Congress member Ngoako Ramatlhodi and former minister of safety and security Sydney Mufamadi. then left Harare on Monday without meeting the MDC Alliance.
A statement posted to Twitter by the MDC Alliance: “The MDC Alliance was formally requested to be available for a meeting today, the 10th of August 2020, with the special envoys that were deployed by President Cyril Ramaphosa to Zimbabwe … We can only assume the failure to meet the MDC Alliance delegation was as a result of demands made by the Zanu-PF delegation.” Information Secretary Nick Mnangagwa denied that there was anything untoward in the move, tweeting that it was not uncommon for envoys to meet ahead of state before returning home.
Clampdown on activists
The special envoys were sent by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa following the suppression of anti-corruption protests and detainment of activists and politicians from opposition parties in Zimbabwe. At least 60 people have been detained by Zimbabwean authorities for protesting, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Dewa Mavhinga, HRW’s Southern Africa Director, said: “SADC and the African Union should call out Zimbabwe’s government for its repression and rampant abuses throughout the country. It’s important for these regional institutions to send strong signals to the Mnangagwa administration that flagrant violations of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other human rights treaties are unacceptable.” By Andre van Wyk/allafrica.com
Main Photo: Pres. Ramaphosa, NewZimbabwe.com