South Africa’ opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema on Tuesday demanded the shutting down of Zimbabwe’s diplomatic mission in the country amid allegations of rising human rights abuses in the neighbouring country.Malema made the demand as Harare’s security agents locked up several anti-corruption protestors amid an ailing economy made worse by the coronavirus lockdown.
“We call for the removal of the Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa until they restore the human rights in that country,” Malema said in a tweet that has gone viral under the #ZimbabweanLivesMatter hashtag.
He warned: “Failure to do so, we will prevent any official from the Zimbabwean government from participating in any gathering in South Africa — until they respect ordinary Zimbabweans.”
According to the latest reports, more than 60 activists in Zimbabwe were either behind bars or hiding in fear for their lives after the latest crackdown to stop a scheduled protest in the streets of Harare.
Dozens of thought leaders, including journalists, have been raising the alarm against corruption and that country’s troubled economy, the reports said.
The activists’ pleas have been met with an iron fist from Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s security agents, who crippled last Fridays’ planned protests by heavily deploying in Harare’s central business district and its environs.
Mnangagwa has appealed for calm amid the rising public anger over corruption, food shortages and a runaway inflation.