Zimbabweans have expressed anger at South African president Cyril Ramaphosa’s claims that the country was on the path to democracy, at a time when at least 12 people were shot dead for exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate.
Speaking at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland, Ramaphosa painted a glowing picture about Zimbabwe, further demanding the removal of an economic embargo imposed on the country in the early 2000s.
“It is no longer necessary to have sanctions against Zimbabwe right now, because they have embarked on democracy and a path of real recovery and we will help them best by lifting those sanctions,” Ramaphosa said.
However, Zimbabweans and analysts have expressed anger at Ramaphosa’s claims, following protests sparked by the government’s 150 percent fuel price increase.
The army and police ruthlessly suppressed the protests, leading to the death and injury of dozens others, who were later treated for gunshot wounds.
Acts of human rights violations were among the reasons why western countries imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.
While Ramaphosa claimed Zimbabwe was recovering, citizens argued to the contrary, stating the country is in fact in a deep political quagmire.
“… Ramaphosa says Zimbabwe has emerged from a difficult situation when the reality is that the country is actually in a deep political crisis,” UK-based Kent University law lecturer Alex Magaisa wrote on Twitter.
Sentiments by Ramaphosa come at a time when an opposition political party in his country, the Democratic Alliance, has threatened to take Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the International Criminal Court, if the South African leader fails to act on the crisis.
Politician and Harare lawyer Fadzayi Mahere said Ramaphosa was supposed to keep quiet instead of “insulting” the people of Zimbabwe.
“It is insulting to the Zimbabwean people for African presidents to claim Zimbabwe is on the path to democracy, this within days of army killings of unarmed civilians.
If you won’t stand with the people, why not keep quiet? Is this the African way? What a shame. #ubuntu,” Mahere wrote on her Twitter page.
The world had expected Zimbabwe to turn over a new leaf following former president Robert Mugabe’s removal from power in November 2017.
Mnangagwa had promised to bring a “new Zimbabwe”, but events of the past week, coupled with the post-election violence that took place on August 1, 2018, leading to the death of at least six people, has left many doubting his sincerity.
These events are what resulted in many people finding Ramaphosa’s views on Zimbabwe worrying.
MDC Midlands senator Lilian Timveos expressed shock at Ramaphosa’s claims.
“Ramaphosa has just shocked me. Oh my God and he wants to be president again in SA (South Africa). Remove sanctions. Zimbabwe on path to recovery, is this path to recovery? Africa. My heart bleeds,” Timveos wrote on Twitter, accompanying the post with pictures of battered people.
Piers Pigou, a political analyst also questioned Ramaphosa’s claims.
“Pres (president) Ramaphosa needs to be given the correct information about current sanctions/restrictions on Zimbabwe, their import on the current crisis, & prospects for economic recovery. Even … Mnangagwa and Fin min Ncube have acknowledged the sanctions excuse is no longer relevant,” he wrote on Twitter.