Saturday, 18 April 2015

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace cornered over xenophobic attacks.

President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace, were yesterday challenge to speak out against xenophobia attacks in neighbouring South Africa that has put the lives of an estimated 3 million Zimbabweans at risk.

Close to 200 people led by various civic organisations besieged the South African Embassy in Harare yesterday and handed over a petition to deputy Ambassador to Zimbabwe Andy Makwabe urging the South African government to urgently act and restore order to protect the under siege foreigners.

At least 10 foreigners including two Zimbabweans have been killed in the xenophobic attacks.
Police in Harare tried to stop the demonstrators but that was not before the protestors had handed over the petition. Speaker after speaker blamed both the Zanu PF government for its failed economic policies that have crippled the country and South African President Jacob Zuma’s administration for being complicit in the killing of the hapless foreigners.
President Robert Mugabe and First Lady Grace cornered over xenophobic attacks.
The demonstrators were waving placards attacking Mugabe, Grace and Zuma for sitting back while people were being butchered in South Africa. One placard read: “Doctor Amai say something xenophobia will catch up with you soon in Singapore.”Another read: “Zuma phobia.”

Makwabe said she would wait for her government to respond.
“We have received the petition and we have heard your concerns. We will forward this to our government who we expect to respond through your government,” she said.
Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe director Sydney Chisi, charged that South Africa had failed to protect fellow Africans who were being maimed.

He said Zimbabwe has also failed to create a conducive environment for its citizens to come back home.
“As long as the situation at home is not solved then people are going to continue risking their lives,” Chisi said.

Two trucks of anti-riot police initially threatened the demonstrators. One protestor was thrown into one of the trucks before other demonstrators confronted the officers leading to his release.

The police officers later dispersed the crowds after over an hour of demos.
Several people who were trying to get different forms of visas were denied access to the Embassy as the security locked down the premises.

Several other organisations yesterday released statements castigating the manner in which both Zimbabwe and South Africa have handled the issue.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) blamed both Mugabe and Zuma for the influx of Zimbabweans into South Africa.
“As the ZCTU, we feel that the South African government is equally responsible for the influx of Zimbabweans into their country, because they treated Mugabe softly and allowed him to destroy Zimbabwe’s economy without lifting a finger,” a statementread. “Pretoria failed to take advantage of the mediation role given to its successive presidents, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, to ensure there were free and fair elections which could have helped revive the country’s economy, hence the exodus of Zimbabweans into their country.”

Progressive Democrats of Zimbabwe leader Barbara Nyagomo said: “The President’s deafening silence about xenophobia is shocking. He was in SA recently wining and dancing with (Jacob) Zuma whilst some of his citizens are been maimed and butchered.”

Zimbabwe Democracy Institute director, Pedzisai Ruhanya said: “We must hold Zuma accountable because it appears the government is complicit in what is happening. It is worrying that Zuma’s son actually made statement supporting the persecution of foreigners in South Africa.”

African Union Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma described the attacks of foreign nationals in South Africa as “unacceptable,” calling an immediate halt while expressing her deep concerns regarding the attacks.
“Whatever the challenges we may be facing, no circumstances justify attacks on people, whether foreigners or locals. It is unacceptable.”

Dlamini-Zuma said it was unfortunate that the attacks came as celebrations of Africa month approaches on 25 May. News Day.

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