ZIMBABWEANS in neighbouring South Africa are reportedly mobilising to embarrass President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his delegation during the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit scheduled for Cape Town from September 4 to 6.
The developments come at a time when Mnangagwa’s government has outlawed the rights to demonstrate for its citizens by banning opposition protests over the deteriorating situation in the country, despite the right being guaranteed by the Constitution.
Last week, Zimbabweans in South Africa circulated messages mobilising each other to stage a demonstration in Cape Town this week to show the world that all was not well back home, at the same time taking advantage of the international fora since back home protesting was being met with hostility.
“All Zimbabweans in South Africa, let’s stand together with one voice and raise our hands in Cape Town on Wednesday to Friday, September 4 to 6, 2019 while marching in Cape Town where ED Mnangagwa will be attending a meeting of the World Economic Forum,” one of the messages circulating on social media read.
“Do not be left behind, follow others in Cape Town. ED must know what the people of Zimbabwe are crying about. It is enough. We need a government which looks after its people . . .”
This would be the second time Zimbabweans based in South Africa are protesting against Mnangagwa since he took over from former leader Robert Mugabe in November 2017 following a military-backed operation. Some Zimbabweans protested against him on his first visit to South Africa in December 2017, just a month after he became President.
A Zimbabwean political activist based in South Africa, Fortune Mlalazi, confirmed that Zimbabweans were mobilising to demonstrate against Mnangagwa’s delegation.
“It is true, people are mobilising each other to demonstrate in Cape Town where there will be an economic forum and it is their right to demonstrate,” he said.
Mlalazi said this was exactly what Mnangagwa was looking for after he closed avenues for Zimbabweans to freely express themselves on home soil.
“You saw what happened in London with SB (Sibusiso) Moyo (Foreign Affairs minister). It will continue to happen wherever he (Mnangagwa) goes as long as he closes avenues in Zimbabwe. People will always find alternatives,” Mlalazi said.
Zapu spokesperson Iphithule Maphosa said: “We are supportive of this and any other effort to pile pressure on the international community and make them see the Zimbabwean government for what it really is — it is a rogue mafia regime that feeds on Zimbabweans’ blood like vampires.”
The WEF Africa summit will run under the theme Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It seeks to address the African Union’s Agenda 2063 on regional strategic priorities.