Earlier this week, the Democratic Alliance (DA) wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa, calling on him to intervene directly in order to stop the ongoing human rights violations being carried out by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government in Zimbabwe. It was made clear that if the President fails to abandon his “quiet diplomacy” approach and intervene by Friday, 25 January, the DA will approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) requesting a preliminary investigation into these clear human rights violations.
In response, the Presidency has stated this is not possible as the President is abroad at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. This response is unacceptable. Our country’s duty to protect and promote basic human rights for fellow human beings cannot be put on hold. There is nothing stopping the President from picking up the phone and doing the right thing.
Therefore, the DA’s call stands. The President must advise the nation on what immediate steps his government will take to ensure an end to the violence in Zimbabwe and the full reinstatement of all civil liberties by tomorrow, Friday 25 January, failing which we will approach the ICC for relief for the people of Zimbabwe.
To date, Ramaphosa has simply called for the end to sanctions against Zimbabwe. There has been no advocacy for the citizens, justice for the deceased, or protection of civil liberties for those who are still detained.
The President is mistaken to focus solely on the economic situation in Zimbabwe whilst turning a blind eye to the dictator-like military clampdown on citizens which has to date claimed the lives of at least 12 people.
If President Ramaphosa fails to intervene and stop the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, he will need to answer to the ICC as why his government failed to act to put a stop to these grave human rights violations.