EDITORIAL | SA must step up and show Zim some tough love

Ideas

EDITORIAL | SA must step up and show Zim some tough love

Among the voices that have been conspicuously absent, though not surprisingly so, is that of the SA government

Editorial

The arrest of world-renowned Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga for taking part in an anticorruption rally in Harare last week was guaranteed to put the international spotlight on the ongoing crackdown by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. For a short while, then, this outspoken critic’s fate focused attention on the country’s sorry disaster, even with tyrannical freedom hero Robert Mugabe no longer at the helm.

Truth is, Mugabe rules from the grave in that unhappy country, once the “breadbasket of Africa”, and the bearer of so many hopes after independence in 1980. The political intolerance, the manipulation of the state to fill the pockets of the ruling elite, the broken economy and crippled agricultural sector are all hallmarks of Mugabe’s long and unlamented reign. Sadly, the almost three years Mnangagwa has been in the saddle have been a sequel, but without the drawcard of its leading man and lady, Grace from Benoni.

To this tale of atrophy in our northern neighbour one may add the coronavirus pandemic. It speaks volumes that the roadblocks erected in Harare last week on the day of a planned opposition protest against corruption in the awarding of Covid-19 tenders were the very same roadblocks used during the Covid-19 lockdown. This has fed fears, which appear well-founded, that the restrictive measures and secretive tendering procedures introduced to crack down on the pandemic could become an enduring feature of Zimbabwean political life, further snuffing out freedoms...

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