By Nkosana Dlamini
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa has taken full advantage of the current international glare on country’s human rights situation to dismantle President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s drag out ban on gatherings, forcing through spontaneous rallies to ignite his 2023 presidential election charge.
But this has come at a cost to own safety with his convoy running into hurdles, some violent, as he traverses parts of the country under the ostensible objective of meeting stakeholders.
The Zanu PF led government has banned rallies, street demonstrations and elections citing the continued Covid-19 threat on the country.
Despite the ban, Mnangagwa and allies seem to have been allowed to congregate easily without let or hindrance.
The incumbent’s commitment to human rights comes under the microscope this month with the much-anticipated visit to the country by Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan 18 to 28 this month.
Dohan is also set to meet stakeholders within both government and non-governmental.
Mnangagwa, whose human rights record is not too impeccable, is also keen not to mess up ahead of his visit to Europe end of the month.
It would be the first time in over a decade that a Zimbabwean incumbent will set foot on European soil since the rich bloc imposed a travel ban on then President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle for alleged rights abuses, poll fraud and high-level corruption.
Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana has inadvertently admitted his boss felt the pressure to behave when he accused the main opposition leader of playing to the gallery through claims his (Chamisa) convoy was attacked by Zanu PF supporters in Masvingo a week ago.
“We are in the even of #COP26 and the Special Rapporteur’s engagement is about to happen. Do you know what else has started? The Dramas,” said Mangwana, who is also Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
Also commenting on the same situation via Twitter, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Chamisa’s impromptu rallies were meant to provoke attention to alleged rights abuses.
All the pseudo-events of last week were meant to pre-empt or reshape the narrative and focus on damaging sanctions which both the UN Rapporteur and SADC will highlight this week and beyond. Let’s see if the bragging Nero can defeat the will of the whole United Nations and SADC, pic.twitter.com/QStUDVTyaI
— Jamwanda (@Jamwanda2) October 17, 2021