Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy president Tendai Biti says the November 2017 military coup that installed incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa in place of late former leader Robert Mugabe has seen the escalation of human rights abuses and gross state corruption.
Biti said violent attacks, kidnappings, torture, arbitrary arrests, and other abuses against the opposition, government critics, and activists are examples of the despicable crimes perpetrated by the country’s security forces.
The opposition politician said the aftermath of the coup has been marked by a systematic attack on dissent and deteriorating rule of law.
“On 14 Nov 2017, army tanks rolled out of barracks and slid across Zim’s pothole weary roads. In the early hours of 15 Nov 2017, it was self-evident that a coup was underway.
“Since then, there has been a massive deterioration in the political, economic and rule of law fabric of Zimbabwe.
“Five years later Zim is a tottering tin pot where the human rights space has dramatically shrunk.
“The arrest of Job Sikhala, the prosecution of senior leaders, journalists and others , the weaponization of the law, the enactment of fascist laws eg the PVO bill, the rise of corruption are all causes of alarm,” he said.
Biti will Thursday take part in a Sapes Trust-facilitated post-coup panel discussion alongside Zanu PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa and exiled former cabinet minister Saviour Kasukuwere, a Mugabe ally who lost his job when the founding leader was ousted.
Zimbabwe is currently seeking readmission into the Commonwealth, a political grouping comprising 56 former British colonies spread across six continents.
However, the persecution of opposition activists, shrinking democratic space, and gross state corruption puts a damper on the country’s success prospects as this goes against the values and principles enshrined in the Common Wealth Charter.
Mugabe abruptly withdrew the country from the Common Wealth in 2003, when the then-54-nation grouping decided to sanction the stubborn politician for pursuing the chaotic land reform programme that displaced nearly 5,000 white land owners of a majority European descent.
Some analysts however believe that Zimbabwe’s isolation from the Common Wealth has harmed ordinary Zimbabweans more than government and Zanu PF leaders.
In his comments, Biti said the country should abandon its toxicity and polarization that has divided citizens along political lines.
“Truth of the matter is Zimbabwe can’t continue on its current destructive path.
“A new consensus is required. One based on inclusivity, tolerance, respect, justice, constitutionalism and rule of law. One based on absolute respect of the people’s will.
“This Zimbabwe is possible,” he said.