The United States government says it is monitoring President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s abuse of State machinery to decimate the main opposition MDC Alliance by means of recalling MDC Alliance MPs, arbitrary arrests, asset seizure as well as denying the opposition party space to campaign freely.
In a statement, the United States of America State Department said the developments in Zimbabwe are bad as they noticed the Zanu PF regime’s determination to close the democratic space and create an opposition party which is submissive to ruling Zanu PF ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“The United States is following events in Zimbabwe closely, including the troubling moves on March 17 to strip MDC Alliance vice-president Tendai Biti and other MDC Alliance members of their elected seats in Parliament,” said Ned Price the US state Department spokesperson.
“Since March 2020, parliamentary maneuvers supported by the Zimbabwean government have led to the ouster of 39 MDC Alliance MPs and 81 local elected officials. These actions subvert the will of voters, further undermine democracy, and deny millions of Zimbabwean citizens their chosen representation.” he added.
The Western country also accused Zanu Pf of violating the Constitution by blocking the Nelson Chamisa-led opposition party activities using COVID-19 safety protocols, while Zanu PF events went ahead without hindrance.
“We continue to monitor efforts by the government to dismantle the MDC Alliance through the arrests and detention of its leaders and diversion of its assets. We also note the government’s selective enforcement of COVID-19 regulations to indefinitely postpone by-elections and prohibit MDC Alliance gatherings, while permitting internal elections and gatherings for the ruling Zanu PF party and its allies to go forward,” Price said.
However Zanu PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday denied the US government allegations which claimed that the ruling party was plotting for the collapse of MDC Alliance. Moyo also added that opposition parties were tearing each other alone on their internal political party fights.
“We have nothing to do with the recalls. It is the opposition party (MDC-Alliance)’s business. Zanu PF is not involved in any of the recalls. It is the court which ruled for the recalls, and so where does Zanu PF get in? Opposition parties are expelling each other and Zanu PF is not an opposition party, therefore, those squabbles do not concern us,” he said.
Moyo added that arrests of opposition members was not a Zanu Pf project but rather said that the law was taking its course on offending opposition members who were disowning Covid- 19 regulations.
“If they are violating regulations, they should be arrested. Zanu PF members cannot be arrested if they are following the laid-out COVID- 19 regulations. Zanu PF is not a law enforcement body which oversees arrests and prosecution of people. It’s a political party and, therefore, those who are aggrieved about their arrest should know where to table their concerns,” he said
The MDC Alliance said despite Khaya Moyo’s denials, events on the ground confirmed that Zanu PF was determined to do everything in its capacity to desolve Chamisa’s party and pave way for a submissive opposition party as a result, these illegal recalls and the action of the opposition come as of no surprise. We see clear connivance with Zanu PF surrogates to usurp the will of the people.
“ZEC [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] has a constitutional obligation to hold elections and we have continuously stated that these should be held without delay. Zimbabweans must not be shaken. We know worse is coming. The solution is for the citizens to converge and fight for change.” said Fadzai Mahere.
Meanwhile these latest standoff is likely to further strain relations between Harare and Washington at a time Mnangagwa is lobbying for acceptance into the global family of nations. Recently, the Joe Biden administration added four Zimbabwe security officials to its sanctions list, accusing them of gross violation of human rights. The US government also accused Mnangagwa of failing to honor the reform pledges he made when assuming power in November 2017.