Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa Picture: African News Agency (ANA)
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Emmerson Mnangagwa accuses 'rogue' citizens of destabilising Zimbabwe

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Aug 4, 2020

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Johannesburg – Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday slammed what he called attempts by "rogue" citizens working with foreigners to destabilise the country.

In a live television broadcast which was also streamed online, Mnangagwa acknowledged the southern African country was in crisis, but mostly blamed his political opponents as well as sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe's ruling elite, the ravages of weather and, more recently, the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Undoubtedly, my administration has faced many hurdles and attacks since its inauguration," said Mnangagwa, who become president when his predecessor, Robert Mugabe, was toppled in November 2017, and won a contested election the following year.

"We will overcome, we will defeat the attack, and stop the bleeding of our economy. We will overcome attempts at (the) destabilisation of our society by a few rogue Zimbabweans acting in league with foreign detractors."

Mnangagwa spoke against the backdrop of rising criticism, both inside and outside Zimbabwe, of his government's crackdown on critics and political opponents amid rising public anger over economic hardships.

In neighbouring South Africa, rapper AKA, whose real name is Kiernan Forbes, posted a series of Twitter posts at the weekend urging his compatriots to pay more attention to the crisis in Zimbabwe.

He suggested there had been greater local interest in the plight of African Americans at the hands of police, which had given rise to the Black Lives Matter movement in the US.

The #ZimbabweanLivesMatter hashtag has taken root on the social media platform as users add their voices to the debate on the troubled country.

In Pretoria on Sunday, a group of Zimbabweans living in South Africa marched from the Union Buildings, which house President Cyril Ramaphosa's offices, to their country's embassy in solidarity with their compatriots back home.

The march was held in the wake of the arrests of several people by Zimbabwean authorities, including journalist Hopewell Chin'ono, charged with sabotage after reporting about an anti-government protest planned for last Friday, and award-winning author Tsitsi Dangarembga who was picked up while participating in the march.

The spokeswoman for Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Fadzayi Mahere, was arrested for allegedly inciting public violence.

South Africa's government has long faced criticism - particularly under former president Thabo Mbeki - for its so-called “soft diplomacy” on the Zimbabwean crisis, which has seen many people flee to the neighbouring country for a better life.

Zimbabwe's governing Zanu-PF party, first under Mugabe, who ruled for 37 years before being unseated in 2017, and now under Mnangagwa, has long rejected accusations of mismanaging the economy.

The party instead points a finger at saboteurs, initially in retaliation over the government's seizure of white-owned commercial farms in the early 2000s for redistribution among blacks dispossessed of the land during British colonial rule.

On Tuesday Mnangagwa said his government made no apologies "for fixing our systems across the social, economic and political spectrum".

"The bad apples that have attempted to divide our people and to weaken our systems will be flushed out. Good shall triumph over evil," he said.

African News Agency (ANA)

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