Zanu PF hijacks UN Chief visit
Gutu told NewsDay that Zanu PF officials in the shaky coalition government wanted to mislead the envoy on the human rights abuses in the country.
“Ministry officials made sure I was not given a programme of her visit in a deliberate and well calculated plan to sideline me. More particularly, they did not want me to attend the meeting between the Minister of Justice (Patrick Chinamasa) and the High Commissioner,” Gutu said.
The alleged “hijack” of the envoy also angered Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) who wanted to meet the envoy to present their position on human rights issues.
They alleged that Secretary for Justice David Mangota changed the venue and hired “dubious” groups to masquerade as human rights organisations. Gutu, of MDC-T claimed he had to use “unorthodox” means to get into the meeting just before it ended.
“I gathered that the Minister was painting a very rosy picture about Zimbabwe’s human rights situation to the envoy which in my view is completely divorced from the real issues on the ground,” Gutu said.
His utterances came in the wake of attacks on MDC-T supporters by the Mbare-based shadowy Zanu PF militia group, Chipangano.
“Zimbabwe remains a fascist State where all political activities outside Zanu PF are virtually banned. The High Commissioner is a jurist of impeccable credentials and I have no doubt in my mind that she will see the story behind the story during her week-long visit to Zimbabwe,” he said.
CSOs also said they expected to brief Pillay today about the deteriorating human rights situation in the country but vowed not to meet her at Parliament “because of the history of violence there”.
“The visit is not meant to be a stage-managed process where State representatives take the UN High Commissioner through a guided tour to meet people who give a glorified and sugar-coated account of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe,” CSOs said.
Pillay is set to meet Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai today. Yesterday, Pillay also met Labour minister Paurina Mpariwa and acting Foreign Affairs minister Nicholas Goche.
Goche told Pillay of a commitment by all political leaders to hold joint rallies denouncing violence ahead of elections which Zanu PF wants this year.
Pillay also met Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to appreciate the judiciary system in the country before another meeting with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission and Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).
ZEC deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe said she was interested in knowing their preparedness in holding elections and the status of the voters’ roll.
At the ZMC, Pillay wanted to know the fate of foreign-owned newspapers circulating in the country and whether Zimbabwe will be able to register new radio and television broadcasting players before the forthcoming elections.
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