Maimane sends Mnangagwa meeting request ahead of Zimbabwe trip

Many believe the DA leader has poor prospects of getting further than the airport in Harare though.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has requested a meeting with Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa in an attempt to intervene following the uproar over the country’s rise in fuel prices.

Maimane was outside the Zimbabwean embassy on Thursday, joined by the DA’s international relations and cooperation shadow minister, Stevens Mokgalapa, to hand over a formal letter requesting the attention of the Zimbabwean president.

Maimane, who plans to visit Zimbabwe next week, said the trip was to begin the process of ensuring the Zimbabwean people were safe from violence and intimidation.

His visit follows weeks of instability, violence, and allegations of rape in Zimbabwe.

“Assault, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment of citizens continues while President Cyril Ramaphosa sits on his hands and refuses to take action.

“Their stories tell the harrowing truth as to what happens when a government turns on its own people, using military force and violence to suppress protest and opposition.

“Their stories are our stories, and as democrats who stand for constitutional democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of basic human rights, we must stand in solidarity with them and make our voices heard. The situation cannot continue any longer.”

The letter requesting a meeting claims that there was an absence of leadership from the South African government, even after the DA approached Ramaphosa, requesting he advise the nation on what the next steps the government would take to ensure an end to the violence.

“In the absence of any meaningful intervention by either the South African government or regional African bodies such as SADC and the AU, I have no choice but to intervene in an effort to help find a peaceful resolution,” Maimane said.

“As chairperson of the Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change (SAPDC), which represents opposition parties from the SADC region, I have a duty to speak up on behalf of our member parties and to speak out against any injustice in the region.”

Maimane intends to travel to Harare next week to meet with Mnangagwa and the ruling Zanu-PF and opposition MDC to find a solution for the conflict.

“The disturbing reports of beatings, arrests and other threats to hard-won democratic freedoms in Zimbabwe compel me to act.”

According to Zimbabwean publication Zoom Zimbabwe, Maimane has been cautioned that his trip could result in the same outcome as a trip of his to Zambia in May 2017, when he was summarily turned away from the airport.

He had attempted to attend and observe the treason trial of Zambian opposition leader Hkainde Hichilema.

South African ambassador to Zimbabwe Mphakama Mbete warned Maimane not to meddle in Zimbabwean politics, warning him that he may be turned away from the airport yet again.

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