By Robert Tapfumaneyi
OPPOSITION leader Lovemore Madhuku has accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of preserving the tainted human rights abuses record of the now late former Zimbabwe strongman Robert Mugabe through systematic arrests and assaults of opponents.
In his address on the “State of The Nation” Thursday as president of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), Madhuku said Mnangagwa like Mugabe is convinced that if members of opposition parties are abused by state agents, then he is upholding human rights.
“It was a real notion which Mnangagwa has carried on, which says that if the majority is quiet, then we will beat you up (minority). We will arrest you,” Madhuku told journalists at the Media Centre in Harare.
He said the increase of human rights abuses in the country should be raised before the Political Actors Platform (POLAD) members.
POLAD is a forum created by Mnangagwa to dialogue with other presidents from fringe political parties that contested in the 2018 presidential elections. Madhuku is a member of that platform.
“I know that in the political environment, there are complaints of human rights abuses. I want to make it clear that as NCA, we believe in human rights observance. We check whether the country is going by human rights observance.
“We do not look at the majority of the people; we look at the most active minority. You are judged in relation to that most active minority. So it is clear four, five, six people that are very active. It’s a matter of how you treat those people that is how you judge your human rights observance.
“That is all what human rights is all about. Human rights are about respect for everyone including those who are regarded as the minority.”
He said Mnangagwa’s administration was, therefore, misguided to convince itself that human rights were only a preserve of the majority.
“I think the government is mistaken there and this is coming from President Robert Mugabe’s legacy, which says if the majority are not complaining (you are observing human rights). You are (only) three or four people. You know that where he (Mugabe) talks about Madhuku, Madhuku whatever he says in that video and so forth.”
During the era of Mugabe, Madhuku was repeatedly assaulted or arrested by the state.
Mugabe was removed in a military-assisted coup in November 2017 and died in 2019.
Turning to POLAD Madhuku said: “Regarding political dialogue, our position as NCA is that, if you are a political actor or party go to POLAD. POLAD is the only platform for political actors. If you want to go and negotiate for power and so forth, there is no place for that in this country. This country is not partitioned between two political parties.
“Let’s work on political reforms and we go to the next election. But if you are not a political actor like a political party, we support an all-stakeholders’ platform, where we can have continuous discussion, but that relates to those who are not political parties. But political parties come to POLAD.”
Several opposition political leaders who participated in the 2018 election, including MDC Alliance President Nelson Chamisa, have snubbed POLAD challenging the legitimacy of Mnangagwa’s win in the past election.