ED still keen on western hugs despite rights abuse storm – Matemadanda

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By Leopold Munhende

WAR Veterans secretary general Victor Matemadanda says Zimbabwe’s renewed row with the US and the West will not scupper President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s re-engagement efforts with the country’s former allies.

He was addressing journalists at his Batanai Gardens offices in Harare Saturday.

Mnangagwa, whose leadership took off on a promising note 2017, has burnt his fingers through excessive clampdown on opponents, activists and journalists he bluntly accuses of attempts to overthrow his administration.

His high-handed response to citizen dissent has invited negativity to his faltering rule with strong signs the long-time ally of former ruler Robert Mugabe was reluctant to break the country from its bitter past.

Amid the abuses which have been strongly condemned by the world, the straight-faced leader is still keen on international acceptance, according to one of his most ardent apologists.

“Re-engagement has not been stopped, it is still there but re-engagement and reaction are two different things,” Matemadanda said after Mnangagwa last week lambasted the west for alleged interference with his administration.

“If there is an abuse of the environment, then we have to fill the gaps.”

He added, “America is not a peacemaker and whoever is funded by America is not working for his own interest but for American interest. This applies not only to traitors here but in neighbouring states.

“America must learn to respect other people’s democracies and stop acting like they are the World Police.”

A recent clampdown on government critics has culminated in the ZimbabweanLivesMatter hashtag that has received massive traction in and outside the country.

The hashtag which was the second most trending on Twitter last week, got the attention of governments, the UN, local and international celebrities and for the first time in years, forced the governing ANC in South Africa to respond.

South Africa has indicated it will send a fact-finding mission to investigate the human rights violations.

Added Matemadanda: “We continue to appreciate that they have set up a fact-finding mission which I think is going to set the record straight.

“We expect in the event of a report that corrective measures are taken, if it is found out that these people have been lying as we know they have then action must be taken against them so that we bring sanity in the region otherwise we will continue to have problems.”

Matemadanda went on to castigate former Botswana president Ian Khama and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema of South Africa for calling out Zanu PF and Mnangagwa on rights abuses.

Khama has gone as far as to telling journalists he regretted attending Mnangagwa’s inauguration in November 2017 after the army toppled Mugabe.

Malema has advocated the shutting down of the Zimbabwe embassy in South Africa to show disapproval with the way Mnangagwa has handled opposition to his rule.