Chamisa lines up anti-Mnangagwa protests in New York

 Chamisa lines up anti-Mnangagwa protests in New York
Published: 19 September 2019 (175 Views)
ANGERED by the continued harassment of its supporters, as well as the escalating abductions of government critics in the country, the main opposition MDC plans to hold mass protests against President Emmerson Mnangagwa in the United States of America, the Daily News reports.

This comes as pressure is mounting on Mnangagwa and his government to guarantee the safe return of a medical doctor who was kidnapped at his home in Harare at the weekend.

The planned US demonstrations against Mnangagwa — scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday — also come as more than 50 opposition and pro-democracy activists are said to have been abducted and tortured by suspected state security agents since the beginning of the year.

Mnangagwa is in New York to attend the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

The 77-year-old Zanu-PF leader and his government have come under growing international scrutiny following the recent escalation in kidnappings of their critics — although they have, on their part, accused a "third force" of being responsible for these barbaric acts, ostensibly to tarnish Zimbabwe's image.

Yesterday, the country's largest opposition party confirmed that it had dispatched its deputy organising secretary, Happymore Chidizva, to New York to be part of the team planning the protests.

Chidziva confirmed the planned demonstrations, adding that he was already in New York.

"We are here (in New York) for the mass actions. We will not rest till the people of Zimbabwe get the freedom they deserve, but you must speak to the MDC North America province leadership," Chidziva told the Daily News.

MDC provincial chairperson for North America, Tawanda Dzvokora, confirmed that the protests were scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday.

"We are demonstrating against the worsening human rights abuses. Our political and civil society leaders, as well as Zimbabweans in general are being brutalised by Mnangagwa's regime.

"We want to tell the world that contrary to what Mnangagwa will be preaching to them at the UN, and what he has been telling the world that he is the leader of a new dispensation ... that he is bringing change, none of that has happened.

"Indeed he has closed all democratic space for Zimbabweans," Dzvokora said.

This comes as Mnangagwa's plans to end Zimbabwe's decades of international isolation appear to be dead in the water, following the disturbing recent events which political analysts have said are consistent with the "old and damaging ways" of the late former president Robert Mugabe's previous administrations.

Last month, heavily armed police ruthlessly broke up peaceful protests that had been organised by the MDC in Harare — leaving dozens of people, including women with children on their backs — nursing multiple wounds.

Apart from bludgeoning the protesters, the police went on to ban all subsequent demonstrations that had been planned in several cities and towns, despite the constitution allowing peaceful protests.

"We will be telling the world about all the human rights abuses committed by Mnangagwa since he took over.

"On August 1, 2018 security agents murdered people in broad daylight, and during the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' (ZCTU) stayaway in January this year, the security agents also murdered people.

"Half of the MDC's and ZCTU's leadership has also been arrested at one time or another, and some are facing treason charges," Dzvokora said.

"We will also amplify our outrage at the abduction of Dr (Peter) Magombeyi, among others.

"All these issues are in line with our Reload Programme which calls for external assemblies to put pressure on the government by engaging the international community and telling the truth of what is going on Zimbabwe," he added.

This week the government caved in to massive pressure from both locals and the international community to end the escalating abductions of government critics — when it set up a special team to probe the latest disappearance of Magombeyi.

This came as State hospitals remained paralysed by the ongoing doctors' strike — which went full steam on Monday, following the kidnapping of Magombeyi, who is the acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA).

Magombeyi was abducted days ahead of a key visit to Zimbabwe by the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur, Clément Nyaletsossi Voule — who is on a 10-day visit to assess the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.

Magombeyi was abducted from his home in Budiriro on Saturday — in the dead of night — by three unidentified men, suspected to be State security agents.

Before the weekend's dramatic developments, the doctors had already been on strike, although they were reporting for duty to deal with emergency cases.

They have now said that the kidnapping of Magombeyi had prompted them to completely withdraw their services in a bid to force his captors to release him.

Magombeyi's abduction comes a month after the seizures and torture of pro-democracy activist Tatenda Mombeyarara, MDC Mufakose youth chair Blessing Kanotunga and comedienne Samantha Kureya, popularly known as Gonyeti.

On Monday, hundreds of angry medical doctors held marches in Harare and Bulawayo — demanding Magombeyi's immediate release.

And as pressure mounted on the government to stop the escalating abductions of its critics, High Court judge Edith Mushore also ordered the police and the Central Intelligence Organisation to step up their investigations and ensure Magombeyi's release by his captors.

This forced Mnangagwa's under-pressure government to set up a special probe team to investigate Magombeyi's disappearance.

Apart from seeking to establish the whereabouts of the youthful union leader, the government also said it had launched investigations to establish and punish a "third force" that is suspected to be behind the recent spate of kidnappings.

"We have launched a special investigation team to delve into … the reported abduction of Dr Magombeyi, the acting head of the doctor's union.

"This is not only to ensure that Dr Magombeyi is delivered safe and unhurt back to his family, but in actual fact to dig deeper into the culprits and the third force responsible for this heinous crime which seems to be creeping into our society.

"Indeed this crime must be nipped in the bud and hence we have been assured by security agencies that special investigations are under way," Foreign Affairs minister Sibusiso Moyo said.

He added that the government was also perturbed by the fact that the abductions almost always occurred whenever there was an impending international gathering or a high profile visit to Zimbabwe.

"It is still fresh in our minds that towards the Sadc summit in Tanzania last month, the country was gripped with numerous abductions of our citizens by people whose aim we can only believe was to tarnish the image of the country regionally, continentally and internationally.

"We have no doubt that the latest abduction of Dr Peter Magombeyi was meant to coincide with the visit to Zimbabwe by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and association," he said.

- dailynews

Tags: Mnangagwa,

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