US, Canada, Australia expose role

Herald Reporters
Foreign countries that have been sponsoring a wave of violent demonstrations in Zimbabwe through opposition parties and their proxies in the civil society have finally come out in the open supporting their actions. Demonstrators drawn from mainly MDC-T and their appendages in the civil society, have been looting shops, blocking roads, stoning cars and destroying property as well as attacking innocent people who were going about their business in Harare.

Yesterday morning, the United States Embassy, Canada and Australia issued separate statements supporting the protests and condemning law enforcements agents for maintaining peace and order by arresting illegal protesters. The statements were meant to coincide with a demonstration that flopped in Harare yesterday.

“The United States is troubled by the economic policies and financial strains that have prompted numerous recent protests in Zimbabwe and we join many Zimbabweans in their deep concern over reports of violence during some of the protests,” reads statement released by the US Embassy in Harare yesterday.

“The United States supports freedoms of speech and assembly and we call on the Government of Zimbabwe to exhibit restraint and respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens, including those basic rights.”

While the embassy said it supported non-violent demonstrations, it did not condemn the violence instigated by opposition elements over the last few months.

The US Embassy also said it was “monitoring recent threats to crackdown on activists using social media”.

On the other hand, the Canadian Embassy said: “The Embassy of Canada to Zimbabwe is increasingly concerned with reports of violence and human rights violations in response to public protest.

“The Embassy of Canada calls for calm and stresses the importance of peaceful dialogue. The Embassy of Canada reiterates its call on all stakeholders to respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in particular, the freedom to peacefully demonstrate, the right to personal liberty, the right to personal security and the rights of arrested and detained persons.

On its part, the Australian Embassy said it shared the “concerns of many Zimbabweans at the violence, which has occurred over recent weeks in Zimbabwe.

“The use of violence is not acceptable under any circumstance. The Australian Embassy wishes to emphasise that the rule of law, respect for human rights, right to free speech, freedom of assembly and other democratic freedoms are at the heart of the Zimbabwean Constitution and must be respected by all parties.

“We encourage the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure the democratic freedoms of all Zimbabweans are fully protected.” But political analysts who spoke to The Herald said their statement vindicated Government position that some of these countries sponsored the current protests.

“Whilst we hear those embassies gleefully rubbing their hands at the chaos, we did not hear them condemning the violence being perpetrated by these elements,” said political analyst and lawyer, Mr Terrence Hussein.

“Government must only be guided by the Constitution and the laws of Zimbabwe. If they feel the laws are being violated then they must act accordingly.”

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Cde Kindness Paradza said the statements vindicated Government position that Western countries were behind the current wave of violent demonstrations.

“All along, we have been saying these countries and their allies are sponsoring illegal regime change in Zimbabwe over the years through all sorts of machinations with the latest one being these violent protests targeting properties.

“As the committee on Foreign Affairs, we warn these embassies and their Governments that their freedom ends where ours begin.

“They must not interfere in our internal affairs. What they must know is that we are different from Libya, Syria and Afghanistan. Our security forces have the capacity to deal with these hooligans,” said Cde Paradza.

Legal practitioner, Mr Tendai Toto, said it was important for the embassies to also condemn violence that was being perpetrated by protesters.

“It is right that these embassies take constructive diplomatic efforts to help address concerns identified.

“Equally weighty efforts must be attached to denouncing violence and destruction of private and public-owned property and the violation of equally valid and guaranteed freedoms of others alongside the calls for the respect and protection of the freedoms of expression and assembly that underpin the occurrences and execution of the demonstrations,” said Mr Toto.

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