Chakwera remains silent on Zimbabwe saga

Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera who benefited from public protests has opted to remain silent on the situation in Zimbabwe where people protesting against President Emmerson Mnangagwa are arrested arbitrarily.

Malawi24 made several attempts to get a comment from Chakwera, the forthcoming chairperson of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). All our efforts were responded to with silence.

We asked Chakwera through the press secretary, Sean Kampondeni, as well as Minister of Information Gospel Kazako – a media guru.

Kampondeni referred to Kazako who in turn directed us to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Eisenhower Mkaka, who did not respond to our comments.

Several weeks of attempts to get the official government response or Chakwera’s message to the people of Zimbabwe proved futile.

Chakwera is the incoming SADC chairperson

Mnangagwa who rose to leadership through a military coup has been ruling Zimbabwe with an iron fist. Both the economy and human rights record have worsened.

Amnesty International has documented an escalation of violations and abuses of human rights including intensified crackdowns on peaceful dissent in Zimbabwe.

Amnesty said the country has witnessed “a renewed assault on human rights including the right to freedom of expression in recent months, especially targeting journalists, activists and human rights defenders who have spoken out against alleged corruption and called for peaceful protests”.

Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume have been incarcerated at Chikurubi Maximum Prison having been arrested on 20 July for exposing allegations of corruption and Jacob for calling for peaceful anti-corruption protests.

“Several attempts by their lawyers to secure them bail have been refused. Both have been charged with ‘inciting the public,” said Amnesty in a statement.

According to a report by Amnesty International, state agents have thwarted several attempts for “peaceful anti-corruption protests [and] lunched a witch-hunt against political and human rights activists”.

Renowned writer Tsitsi Dangarembga and opposition spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere and several other activists are being abducted by state agents.

Despite these abhorrent reports, Chakwera who rose to leadership on large scale protests, has decided to remain silent on the disturbing situation in Zimbabwe.