UNITED Nations special rapporteur Clément Nyaletsossi Voule arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday on a 10-day visit to assess the human rights situation at a time there are escalating kidnappings of government critics.
What is disturbing is that the Togolese national’s visit to the country was prompted by the worsening rights situation in the country, which has seen the Emmerson Mnangagwa government’s commitment to ensuring safety of its citizens coming under the microscope.
It is really disconcerting that there appears to be a determination to either abduct or torture critics of the government whenever Zimbabwe enjoys a period of relative calm.
Why there is this trend remains a mystery.
But it is not difficult to see the contradictions coming out of Mnangagwa’s government and they expose serious fault lines, which should worry all progressive minds.
There are serious questions arising from this.
Why should someone who is trying to re-engage with Western countries and the United States engage in activities such as sanctioning abductions?
Who stands to gain from such a self-destruct move? If a third force is responsible, not the government as has been suggested, then surely the State has the capacity to deal decisively with people committing these dastardly acts.
There is no fathomable reason as to why the government, with all the resources at its disposal, would fail to account for people abducting its citizens — whether it agrees with them or not.
But as long as we continue to see contradictions and political statements which on interpretation appear to deflect blame from the government — the more people demand that the authorities guarantee the safety of citizens.
Voule’s trip to Zimbabwe is the first official visit by an independent human rights expert, appointed by the Human Rights Council, to Zimbabwe.
“My…visit to Zimbabwe represents a key opportunity to learn first-hand about laws, policies and national realities in relation to the rights to peaceful assembly and of association in light to the 2013 Constitution and the change of leadership.
“My mission will also serve to identify the opportunities and challenges the government faces in implementing articles 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, particularly in relation to the management of assemblies in the context of the recent protests,” Voule said ahead of his meetings with various groups during the visit.
It is clear that the world has its eyes trained on Zimbabwe once again.