Who will counter Chinamasa’s fraudulent report?

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s twelfth session of the Universal Periodic Review will this week at its meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, hear the report on the situation in Zimbabwe.

Patrick Chinamasa
Patrick Chinamasa

On the face of it, this looks like a great opportunity for the international community to learn about the horrid and oppressive conditions Zimbabweans are living under Mugabe’s regime as well as the fraudulent nature of the supposedly coalition government.

If this were the best of all worlds, Zimbabweans would be looking forward to the international body taking firm action against the Mugabe regime.

Ironically, the official human rights report on Zimbabwe will be presented by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a sycophant of the Mugabe regime. A copy of this report has been leaked to the public. It reads like fiction and is reeking with fabrications. One can be forgiven for asking if this report refers to some country other than Zimbabwe. It looks as though it could have been in part written by Mugabe’s chief propagandist, Jonathan Moyo.

What is conspicuously missing is documented evidence of blatant state-sponsored human rights abuse. A recent report by the United States Department of State charged that Zimbabwe’s security forces last year committed extra-judicial killings, tortured, raped, and effected arbitrary arrests on opposition party supporters as the country’s human rights record continued to worsen.

This is not the first time Zimbabwe has come under the periodic review of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Zimbabwe has also being brought before the African Commission on Human Rights. In all cases, human rights organizations have fervently lobbied for strong measures against Mugabe’s regime.

But each time attempts were made to either discuss or take action against Mugabe, African members of the United Nations always came in support of Mugabe. South Africa under Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria at one time actually blocked a debate on Zimbabwe’s human rights abuse record. They argued that Zimbabwe was Africa’s “internal affair” and should be left to the African Union or SADC to handle.

A very simple and straightforward proposal to condemn the Mugabe regime for its destruction of people’s properties under the so-called Operation Murambatsvina was blocked by Thabo Mbeki’s South Africa – even after voluminous evidence had been produced by a special representative of the UN about the systematic abuse of human rights inflicted by the Mugabe regime on civilians.

But when both the African Union and SADC were given the opportunity to resolve the Zimbabweans crisis, they, for the most part, came way short. Mbeki at one time said he saw no problem in Zimbabwe. He said this at Harare airport after meeting Mugabe, when all around him in the country state security agents and militia thugs were wreaking havoc on innocent civilians. Somebody remarked that an MDC-T supporter could be shot dead by the militia thugs right in front of Mbeki and he would still say he saw no problem in Zimbabwe.

When over 500 hundred MDC-T supporters were murdered during the 2008 elections, SADC still came short of a fair and just solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe. All the regional body could do was to make a toxic concoction of what they called a coalition government in the unrealistic and pie-in-sky daydream that power would be equally shared between MDC-T and ZANU. This, of course, turned out to be a pipe dream because power remained firmly in Mugabe’s hands. What more could anyone expect when Mugabe, the loser of the election, was rewarded with remaining executive president in the coalition?

The tradition of the UN Security Council has been to punish a country if the regional countries agree that the country in question is a threat to the region’s peace and security.

Evidence has been shown that the unstable political and economic situation in Zimbabwe poses a threat to the region. South Africa is now home to about three million Zimbabwean asylum seekers.

Will the Chinamasa propaganda report on how Zimbabwe is complying with the universal declaration of human rights hold sway and successfully mislead the periodic review? Will the human rights organizations that have gone to Geneva succeed in countering the Chinamasa report by giving the true picture of what is happening in Zimbabwe today?

Will SADC accept that the situation in Zimbabwe now poses a threat to the peace and security of region? If so, will SADC block, or assist in, referring the Zimbabwean situation to the UN Security Council for action?

The MDC-T, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, has a major explanation to make. What role did the MDC-T coalition partners in government play in the writing up of this fraudulent and propagandistic human rights report on Zimbabwe that Chinamasa will present to the UN periodic review?

If, as MDC-T deputy minister of justice, Obert Gutu, said last week, he had no knowledge of this document, will the MDC-T officially inform the UN that this document cannot be acceptable as the official human rights report of the coalition government of Zimbabwe?

Post published in: Opinions & Analysis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *