Ongoing attacks and humiliation of ZANU-PF officials while outside the country on government business is a reflection of public anger on the ruling party’s misrule, which cannot be expressed locally, analysts have said.
In July this year Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo, was attacked outside the Royal Institute of International Affairs, commonly known as Chatham House, in London.
Moyo was in the United Kingdom leading a Zimbabwean delegation on a re-engagement programme to strengthen bilateral relations and to lure investors into the country.
A group of Zimbabwean protesters charged at Moyo and his security details, as he left Chatham House, with one of the protesters spraying him with water from a bottle as he got into his designated vehicle.
Just recently, Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, was also harassed in Serbia by a United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean, Simba Chikanza, while attending the 141st International Parliamentary Union (IPU).
Chikanza reportedly approached Mudenda while he was having breakfast at his hotel and asked why he directed the deduction of five months’ allowances for MDC legislators after boycotting President Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address delivery early this month.
Chikanza went on to accuse Mudenda of human rights abuses while the Speaker of the National Assembly maintained the former was bringing issues on the wrong platform.
This has however riled Harare, with authorities now reportedly engaging host countries to ensure the security of Zimbabwean government officials while visiting foreign nations.
Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Ziyambi Ziyambi, on Monday, disclosed that they were concerned with the attacks on their officials, adding they were moving to address the issue.
He said the government would engage Serbia to understand the circumstances under which Mudenda was abused.
“That was an abuse of other people’s rights,” said Ziyambi.
“As Government, we condemn the behaviour in the strongest terms. We also believe that host governments must accord officials the protection and respect they deserve.”
He said the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade would ensure that Zimbabwean officials are adequately protected whenever out of the country.
But political analysts told CITE, the attacks were a reflection of the people’s anger against the party that has caused economic hardships through its misrule, resulting in a significant number of Zimbabweans fleeing the country.
“I think that ZANU-PF officials are now prone to attacks when they go out largely due to the antipathy that people have towards the party in the Diaspora,” said Sipho Nyoni, a political analyst.
“This is because many are often forced out of the country due to hardships caused by ZANU-PF misgovernance and corruption, so they see venting out their anger on these officials when they come out of the country as their only chance to do so.”
Nyoni said it was also much easier for people to demonstrate against ZANU-PF when out of the country due to the enabling environment that allows freedom of speech and assembly.
Nyoni added: “So often the attacks are ambush attacks which take the officials by storm. Generally, the underlying reason is that of anger towards ZANU-PF and the ruin it has caused in the country and so the general feeling is: ‘what are these officials doing here instead of attending to their burning house?”
Effie Ncube, another political analyst, said the attacks were an indication; Zimbabweans were fed-up with ZANU-PF.
“It means there is no place to hide for those who loot public resources, undermine the rule of law and democratic governance, and violate human rights,” said Ncube.
“People are fed up. Zimbabweans are fed up. The world is fed up. The next humiliation will certainly be losing elections. The day of reckoning is coming.”