Zim ambassador to SA rubbishes opposition crackdown reports

David Hamadziripi

PRETORIA – Zimbabwe’s ambassador to South Africa David Hamadziripi on Wednesday dismissed reports of an ongoing crackdown against opposition activists following last week’s general elections.

Speaking at a seminar on Zimbabwe, hosted by the Human Science Research Council’s Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) in Pretoria, Hamadziripi said the arrest of senior opposition figure Tendai Biti, who had been released on Wednesday, should not be overemphasized.

“It’s no secret that the police [in Zimbabwe] wanted Mr Biti to come and cooperate with investigations that are underway. It is very well and easy to make an individual appear to be a victim, without also acknowledging that they have a responsibility to bear, in the events that have taken place,” said Hamadziripi.

“Mr Biti was wanted by the police, and we believe the due processes of law will follow. There has been members of the MDC-Alliance who were arrested, they were taken to court, and the court made a decision.”

The outspoken Biti, Zimbabwe’s former finance minister from 2009 to 2013, was detained by police as he tried to cross the Chirundu border post into neighborhouring Zambia where he is bound to seek asylum.

In last week’s tightly contested presidential elections, incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly retained power, brushing off stiff competition from MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.

Violence engulfed Harare CBD after the elections as opposition activists took to the streets, alleging electoral fraud. The military intervened and at least six people were shot dead.

The state-run Chronicle newspaper reported earlier this week that Biti was one of the people being sought by police for inciting the protests.

African News Agency (ANA)