HARARE – Namibian opposition leader Bernadus Swartbooi has described President Emmerson Mnangagwa as a “puppet of the Zimbabwean military” as he launched a blistering attack at SADC for continued failure to rein in Zimbabwe’s countless acts of impunity at home and within the region.
Addressing a media conference in his country, the Landless People’s Movement leader slammed SADC for failure to censure Zimbabwean authorities who verbally abused the bloc’s own election observers upon the release of a poll report which denounced Zimbabwe’s August election as fraudulent.
Swartbooi cited cases in which SADC has been tight lipped over Zimbabwe’s apparent misdemeanors.
He said SADC failed to take a stand against the November 2017 military coup that ousted late former President Robert Mugabe and replaced him with Mnangagwa.
“There was a clear military coup in Zimbabwe,” said the Namibian firebrand.
“Zimbabwe was not suspended from SADC or from the AU for a coup that was committed; they went scot free and the military put its puppet, ED Mnangagwa as president.
“But it was a clear coup…no suspension from SADC, no condemnation, no suspension from AU, nothing.
“Again Zimbabwe got what it wanted, got away with what it was doing.”
Describing Mnangagwa’s re-election as “fraudulent and corrupt”, the Namibian politician slammed SADC for welcoming the Zimbabwe incumbent into the bloc even when he was “a beneficiary of a coup”.
The opposition leader further condemned President Hage Geingob for “deviating from his constitutional responsibilities to allow another SADC country to break its own constitution and conduct fraudulent elections” after the Namibian leader congratulated Mnangagwa for poll “victory”.
Swartbooi also cited a case in which SADC was arm-twisted by the Zimbabwean government to disband the SADC Tribunal back after a white Zimbabwean commercial farmer had successfully appealed a Zimbabwean Supreme Court ruling made against the seizure of his farm during the country’s violent land reform process.
The now defunct regional appeals court was based in Windhoek, Namibia.
The opposition leader said elections in Zimbabwe were rigged even when late founding MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was still in opposition.
“The question we are asking is what is so special about Zanu PF that it can break every law in Zimbabwe, it can break every sense of what we understood to be semblance of democracy and not even a word of concern about violence preceding, during and post-election and not even a word of concern is expressed by our leaders.”
He slammed SADC leaders for welcoming Mnangagwa’s disputed victory even when poll observers sent by the bloc flagged the poll for noncompliance with regional guidelines governing the running of credible polls.
“SADC now literally goes into self-masturbation; how do you send your own trusted institution and this time you discredit yourselves, you mutilate yourselves for the sake of Zanu PF.
“What do we as SADC owe Zanu PF … what have they done uniquely for South Africa, for Mozambique, for Namibia, for Angola, for Botswana, for Zambia, for Tanzania, to deserve this type of utmost loyalty even at our own expense; where we now go and we mutilate SADC’s mission,” he said.
Swartbooi said his party considered the current Zimbabwean administration as a “caretaker government by its own (Zanu PF) appointment”.
He gave support for calls for the formation of a transitional authority to superintend over Zimbabwean affairs while also calling for the expulsion of Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Namibia over rigged polls. – ZimLive