By Idah Mhetu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has come out swinging condemning the violent attack on Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo and his delegation in London Friday, by a group of protestors linked to the opposition MDC.
Moyo had just addressed globally respected British think-tank Chatham House when he came under attack from angry protestors demanding the release of MDC deputy national chairman Job Sikhala in remand prison for threatening the overthrow of Mnangagwa’s regime before elections in 2023.
The Foreign Affairs Minister was pelted with water bottles, shoved and pushed by a group of mostly women before escaping into the safety of his official car with his attackers in hot pursuit.
In a statement, Mnangagwa’s government said it was such kind of behaviour as shown by the protestors that forces Zimbabwe to bring out soldiers.
“The government of Zimbabwe condemns the violent attacks against the delegation by a group of opposition protesters outside Chatham House in London.
“It’s tragic that the specter of violence during protests we see in Zimbabwe forcing the security services to act has reared its ugly head in foreign land discrediting not the government but the hoodlums themselves and embarrassing peace loving Zimbabweans,” Information Ministry secretary Nick Mangwana said in the statement.
Moyo, a retired military general who became the public face of the coup that toppled long-time ruler Robert Mugabe in November 2017 before taking charge of Zimbabwe’s engagements efforts under Mnangagwa’s administration, has travelled the globe “to bring back Zimbabwe to the family of nations” after decades in the cold.
He is in London meeting top British officials and is set to attend the Global Conference for Media Freedom.
According to Mangwana, Moyo’s routine in London remains undisturbed.
“The attacks have not, however, disrupted Minister SB Moyo’s successful engagements in the UK in any way. Undeterred, his programme continued with fruitful meetings with the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, investors and tonight (late Friday) we end with engaging a progressive Zimbabwean Diaspora and other key stakeholders, whose support for our country’s economic and political reform efforts remains steadfast,” he said.
“The government of Zimbabwe remains committed to peaceful dialogue with all parties, with a view to building our country around shared values, including the principles of respectful disagreement and non-violence. We affirm the right of Zimbabweans to protest but to do so peacefully.”
Since taking over as President after the coup in 2017 and winning subsequent elections in August last year, Mnangagwa has used soldiers twice to quell protests leaving no less than 20 people dead and dozens with gunshot wounds.