Govt Blocks UN Special Envoy From Meeting Opposition, Civil Society

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By Thandiwe Garusa

THE government has excluded opposition parties and civic society organisations from meeting the United Nations special envoy, Alena Douhan.

Douhan, who arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday, is in the country on a fact-finding mission on the impact of sanctions imposed on the nation by the West two decades ago.

She paid a courtesy call on Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi Monday at his government offices.

However, she did not address journalists with government officials claiming Douhan did not want to speak to the media as this would ‘jeopardise’ her mission.

However, a programme gleaned by only shows her appointments are with government ministers, Chief Justice Luke Malaba, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor John Mangudya, and Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda.speaker of parliament.

Earlier Monday, Douhan met with President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House in Harare. However, details of the meeting between the two remain sketchy.

Asked by the media if Douhan would meet opposition or civic society officials, Ziyambi said that the UN envoy would only meet those that matter.

“She is going to meet everyone who matters so she is not meeting the government alone. Even our (government position) paper is not about the effects (of sanctions) on government, but everyone. So, if she requests to meet anyone, I think that can be facilitated through (the) Foreign Affairs (Ministry).”

Ziyambi added: “We met the special rapporteur as Ministry of Justice to give an overview of the effects of sanctions, but I am afraid that now we are unable to give details, or deliberations as you are aware they are on a fact-finding mission to establish the extent of the effects of sanctions on the ordinary people.

“So, we deliberated, and I am sure you are all aware that as a country we are on a drive to make sure the sanctions are removed, and we have presented to them what we have done be it in terms of our legislation and other measures to ensure that the effects of sanctions on ordinary citizens are lessened.”

Douhan’s visit ends on October 28 and she will present a public report on her visit to Zimbabwe to the UN Human Rights Council during the 51st session in September 2022.

Next Monday, Zimbabwe will commemorate the thirds SADC Anti-Sanctions Day. The day is a public holiday in Zimbabwe.