WAR Veterans and Liberation Struggle Affairs Minister, Chris Mutsvangwa, has strongly criticized Western countries for allegedly attempting to overthrow the Zimbabwean government through the influence of Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, whom he referred to as a “puppet” leader.
Mutsvangwa’s comments came after the Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC) election observer mission’s chairman, Nevers Mumba, released a critical report on the August elections in Zimbabwe.
During a press conference in Harare, Mutsvangwa accused the European Union, United States, Britain, and Belgium of using Hichilema to undermine SADC and its member countries. He emphasized that the concept of “winner takes all” applies in elections, and President Emmerson Mnangagwa deserved to be recognized as the legitimate leader of Zimbabwe.
Mutsvangwa reminded the Western powers that SADC was established by the national liberation movements of Southern Africa, who fought against apartheid, minority rule, and colonial control. He asserted that SADC belongs to the countries that created it and warned against attempts to manipulate the organization using individual puppets.
The current chair of SADC’s organizational troika, Hichilema, has echoed concerns raised in a report by SADC’s election observation mission head, Nevers Mumba. Mumba declared the Zimbabwean election as “flawed” and not meeting regional standards.
In fiery remarks, Mutsvangwa insisted that SADC rightfully belongs to the regional countries and liberation movements that created it. Mutsvangwa warned outsiders to “keep their dirty hands” off African affairs. He further dismissed Hichilema as an individual trying to “tell heads of state how to handle SADC issues.”
Mutsvangwa, who also leads the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, said they will reach out throughout the region to protect SADC.
Meanwhile, Hichilema has continued engaging fellow presidents on Zimbabwe. A virtual summit with Namibia, DRC, and Tanzania discussed the election concerns alongside security in DRC. Tensions therefore remain high as criticisms of Zimbabwe’s election face strident regional rejection.