MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa says institutions such as the African Union (AU) must take a tough stance against leaders on the continent that abuse human rights, including killing peaceful protesters.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Chamisa told The Standard in an exclusive interview yesterday that the use of soldiers by African leaders to kill and silence citizens was now a major challenge confronting the continent.
He singled out President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Ugandan leader Yoweri Museveni. At least 37 people were killed in Uganda last week after protests erupted following the arrest of presidential candidate and pop star Bobi Wine.
In Zimbabwe, soldiers killed six protesters after the controversial 2018 elections and in January last year several people were killed and tens of others were tortured after the military was deployed to quell protests over a steep increase in the price of fuel.
“Africa has a new challenge,” Chamisa said.
“In solving our old problems of colonialism and imperialism, we have created new ones of dictatorship.”
He described as cowardice the use of the military in silencing the people.
“Why does Museveni and some of his cousins in Africa, southern Africa and Zimbabwe included think that they are bigger than the country?” Chamisa said, adding that the country needed a new and different calibre of leadership.
“That is the problem in Uganda and in Zimbabwe among other countries in Africa where individuals want to appear bigger than the country.”
He said regional and continental blocs must be capacitated to deal with dictatorship that is rearing its ugly head on the continent.
“The capacity must be built, political will must be cultivated and their interests must be motivated so that they provide African solutions to African problems,” Chamisa said.
He added: “That is the challenge that is there. It is a cause for concern.
“Manipulating elections by these dictators is a big issue.”
“It is a symptom of a bigger problem, unwillingness to allow the new to be born, the old must retire for the new to rise, but we have the generational conflict that is manifesting even in inter-party politics in Africa, they can’t allow the new to bloom and conspire against young bloomers.
“This whole G40 concept is actually an illustration of discomfort around young people.
“Even contradictions that you have seen in liberation movements is refusal to pave the way for young people, who are treated as stakeholders instead of stockholders.
“They make nations and institutions weak because they are weak.
“What kind of a country leaves a legacy of killing its own people and stealing from the people?
“Let us leverage on the wisdom of the founding fathers and deliver that idea to have modern economies, modern infrastructure, universal visa, one good Parliament to deal with African issues — that is the Africa we want.
“What is happening in Uganda is not good. The African Union slogan is ‘Silence the guns’ yet you see there are certain individuals who are loading the guns and are trigger-happy with the gun as if it’s a guitar.
“Museveni must know a gun is not a guitar.
“You and your cohorts and brothers, a gun is not a guitar and do not spray bullets at unarmed civilians in the streets of Africa like you are spraying seeds at your farms.”
“The AU says let us silence the guns, but you have cowards firing at innocent unarmed civilians.
“That’s what cowards do. There is no normal country that deploys guns against its people like what we are seeing.”
South African opposition leader Mmusi Maimane also weighed in, pleading with South African president and African Union chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa to rein in Museveni in Uganda and Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe over a series of human rights abuses.
“I also call on the African Union and its chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa to talk to his friends Mnangagwa and Museveni and tell them to comply with the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance,” Maimane said on Twitter on Friday.