UK MPs want Mnangagwa invite cancelled
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s visit to the United Kingdom for King Charles III’s coronation hangs in the balance after some parliamentarians in London demanded that he be barred over alleged human rights abuses.
Mnangagwa last week said he was “excited” to receive an invitation to the UK for the coronation on May 6 at Westminster in London, but the visit has now generated a lot of controversy.
In a letter addressed to Foreign, Commonwealth and Development secretary James Cleverly dated April 24, some House of Commons Members of Parliament (MPs) said Mnangagwa did not deserve the invite citing continued detention of opposition Zengeza West MP Job Sikhala and harassment of opposition activists and government critics.
Sikhala has been in pre-trial detention for more than 300 days for allegedly inciting violence at the funeral wake of murdered Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) member Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime in June last year.
“To summarise, political violence and human rights abuses are widespread with opposition MPs and party members harassed, beaten and murdered; corruption is rife, extending to the highest levels of government, destroying economy and impoverishing the Zimbabwe people; and the judiciary, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and all institutions of the State have been suborned to the ruling party,” the letter read in part.
“It’s more than 300 days since CCC deputy chairperson Job Sikhala MP was detained after providing legal representation to the family of murdered opposition campaigner Moreblessing Ali.
“Since then, he has been held without trial in Chikurubi Maximum (Security) Prison and denied his constitutional right to bail.”
The letter was signed by Nav Mishra, Lord Jonathan Oates, Lord Anthony St John of Blesto, Lord Henry Bellingham, Lord Peter Hain, Lord Robert Hayward, Baroness Kate Hoey of Lylehill and Rathlin, Rachel Hopkins, Kim Johnson and Lord Jeremy Purvis of Tweed.
They said inviting Mnangagwa to the coronation would be unjust.”The coronation invitation will inevitably be used by President Mnangagwa as tacit acceptance by the UK of publicly evidenced political violence and repression in the run-up to the forthcoming election and will be deeply demoralising to ordinary Zimbabweans in their struggle for democracy,” the MPs said.
“We, therefore, urge the government to withdraw President Mnangagwa’s invitation until Sikhala and other political prisoners are granted their constitutional right to bail and concrete actions are taken to address human rights abuses and guarantee free and fair elections.”
They also raised concerns that Zimbabwe was headed towards a violent election after noting an increase in cases of political violence across the country.
“In October 2022, Bulawayo MP, Jasmine Toffa had her arms fractured in an attack by Zanu-PF supporters when she was campaigning for a local council candidate and there are regular reports of local party campaigners and councillors being attacked, tortured and murdered with direct incitement from Zanu-PF leaders,” the letter added.
“2023 is already proving to be a year of heightened tension due to planned elections in July (or August).
“Independent sources including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders are recording rising levels of political repression, arbitrary and politically motivated arrests of elected opposition party members and intimidation of the Press.”
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said she was not aware of the developments and referred NewsDay to presidential spokesperson George Charamba whose phone went unanswered.
Mnangagwa last week said he would announce election dates at the end of next month.
According to government officials, Mnangagwa will not intervene to secure Sikhala’s release in “respect of the separation of powers” between the Judiciary and the Executive.
In other news- Video: ‘I’m lonely and h0rny’ – Babes Wodumo reveals
Big Nuz member Mandla “Mampintsha” Maphumulo’s widow and queen of Gqom, Bongekile “Babes Wodumo” Simelane-Maphumulo said she is horny and lonely.She revealed this in a video clip. She said she was looking for a new partner.
“Personally I prefer a white partner because they don’t talk too much. What is your suggestion because I’m really horny and it’s not funny anymore? It’s now getting to my head. Learn more