By Leopold Munhende
BARELY a week after United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Clement Nyaletsossi Vaule delivered a damning report on Zimbabwe’s state of human rights and eager to please the world, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has set up a special team to look into the violence that has rocked the country since last year.
Mnangagwa, who is struggling to convince the West that he is leading a ‘new dispensation’ that respects people’s basic rights, told Parliament on Tuesday that he was going to set up an inter-ministerial task-force to investigate the matters. In his State of the Nation address to Parliament on Tuesday, the President said he was going to investigate accusations of rights abuses.
“The ongoing democratic reforms must entrench constitutional rights and freedoms for all Zimbabweans and therefore the culture of fear and violence must be uprooted from our societies,” said Mnangagwa.
“In line with this commitment to defend our democracy, I have set up an inter-ministerial task-force to look into the political, electoral, legislative and administrative issues raised by the 2018 electoral observer missions and indeed the (former South African President Kgalema) Motlanthe Commission.”
Some six civilians were gunned down by the military on August 1 last year after protests broke out against electoral body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s late announcement of presidential results.
Another 17 more civilians were killed by the army in January during a three-day national shutdown triggered by a 150% fuel hike announced by Mnangagwa.
Abductions of opposition political players and human rights defenders have further worsened his image.
As a result, Mnangagwa has had a torrid time courting the West for their much needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) whose absence has further weakened the already poor economy.
America and European states have demanded tangible reforms before re-engagement with Harare.
The European Union (EU) has also been savage on its analysis of his human rights record since taking over from Mugabe in a coup November 2017.
A desperate Mnangagwa had to lie during last week’s UN General Assembly address, misrepresenting that two of Zimbabwe’s most notorious laws had been repealed when they have not.