There seems to be a persecution of the opposition leaders in Zimbabwe. The life of Tendai Biti, a senior opposition member, is under threat.
The aftermath of the 2018 elections in Zimbabwe has not been smooth. It has been chaotic. The incumbent ZANU-PF party were declared the winners of the election, with Emmerson Mnangagwa being the President of Zimbabwe. The opposition claims the results are "fake" and are now prepared to challenge this in a court of law.
There has been a heavy-handed approach by the government to the opposition. It is quite baffling to note that after months of Emmerson Mnangagwa spiritedly trying to present himself as a reformist, showing he is different from his predecessor Robert Mugabe (whose regime he has enforced his whole political life), this is all being undone by the show of force and brutality exhibited by the country's security forces.
The military has especially come under fire for clamping down on the opposition. Last week, they opened live ammunition on unarmed civilians, resulting in the death of 6 people. They began a reign of terror in residential homes, beating people up for supporting the opposition, showing their cruelty to innocent civilians. It is still not yet clear who is ordering the troops. The police on the other hand attempted to block Chamisa's press conference, only to be stopped by a senior turn.
The show of force has been worse on the opposition leaders. They have been hunted down, abducted,arrested on flimsy charges and have had their family members suffering too at the hand of an unkind and ruthless military. One such particular leader who life has not known peace during this electoral season in Tendai Biti, a senior member of the Movement for Democratic Change Alliance, a consortium of seven parties.
Tendai Biti won a parliamentary seat. Before presidential results were announced, he had declared that Nelson Chamisa, leader of MDC Alliance and their presidential candidate, had won the election. He also claimed that there were assassination attempts plotted against them. The police found wrong in all of this, saying it is illegal to declare someone a winner before results are announced and for inciting opposition members to protest, destroying property in the process.
It seemed as if things had taken a cool turn, but the sinister resumed, as his life was under threat, and social media was awash with claims that there were assassination attempts on his life. He has tried to seek asylum in Zambia, but Edgar Lungu's government has denied Tendai Biti asylum. His arrest when attempting to cross over to Zambia was dramatic, as the military intelligence and police from the Criminal Investigation Department made it their mission for Biti not to make it to Zambia.
He was rescued by Zambian security forces and some citizens and made it to Zambia, but he has been denied asylum. The Zambian government has been criticised for denying Mr. Biti asylum. However Zambian lawyer Gilbert Phiri is preparing an urgent application to the High Court in Lusaka for an interdict to stay any decision to return Tendai Biti to Zimbabwe.
It seems there is selective application of the law in Zimbabwe. Tendai Biti has a threat on his life, but they made it their mission not to allow him to get into Zambia. Yet when Emmerson Mnangagwa was fired last year nothing happened to him when he fled to South Africa. But when it comes to opposition leaders, it becomes illegal entry.
Is there a persecution on the opposition in Zimbabwe? Tendai Biti's case is receiving the most attention because of his station in life, but the military is making life horrible for many other opposition supporters and members.
Why the show of force if the ruling party ZANU-PF say they were elected "freely and fairly"? These are some of the important questions to ask.
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