SA government must intervene in apparent opposition crackdown in Zimbabwe

Issued by Stevens Mokgalapa MP – DA Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
08 Aug 2018 in News

The DA will write to the Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Lindiwe Sisulu, to call on her to engage her Zimbabwean counterparts and intervene in what seems to be a crackdown on opposition in the country.

This follows reports today that senior Zimbabwean opposition member, Tendai Biti, had been arrested at the border with Zambia, while trying to seek asylum. It has since been reported that Mr Biti has been released but that Zambia has denied him asylum.

The DA has information to suggest that Mr Biti is still being sought by Zimbabwean security officials.

Mr Biti is apparently being charged for allegedly breaking the Zimbabwean Electoral Act by declaring that Zimbabwe opposition alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, the winner of presidential election.

A cornerstone of democracy is a free and vibrant opposition. The South Africa government, which also chairs the Southern African Development Community, has an opportunity and an obligation to work with Zimbabwean government to ensure that the opposition in Zimbabwe is free and that the people of Zimbabwe enjoy the rights they are entitled to.

Zimbabwe has already suffered decades of dictatorship and, while there may be disputes surrounding the results of recent elections, arresting members of the opposition will do nothing to foster democracy, freedom and safety the people deserve.