Dear President Mnangagwa,
I have taken note of the statement issued on 29 January by your Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, the Honourable Monica Mutsvangwa.
As chairperson of the Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change, which represents opposition parties from the SADC region, I have a duty to speak up on behalf of our member parties and to speak out against any injustice in the region. The disturbing reports of beatings, arrests and other threats to hard-won democratic freedoms in Zimbabwe compels me to act.
The stability of Zimbabwe is critical to the stability of our region. The protection of democratic rights in Zimbabwe is critical to the advancement of democracy throughout the region. But more importantly, the safety and wellbeing of the people of Zimbabwe matter deeply to all of us, because we are one people here in Southern Africa. They are our brothers and sisters.
In the light of the fast deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, I intend to head up a SAPDC fact-finding mission there as soon as possible, which would include a meeting with your government. Please indicate a date and time next week which best suits your schedule.
Our fundamental interest is to uphold and protect the principles of democracy in the region. The violence against civilians, the shut-down of the Internet and the detention of activists and opponents are thoroughly undemocratic acts. We cannot stand by and watch as Zimbabwean citizens are subjected to these abuses and killings.
In the absence of any meaningful intervention by either my own government or regional African bodies such as SADC and the AU, I have no choice but to intervene in an effort to help find a peaceful resolution.
We want to see Zimbabwe restored to calm and stability, and to see her people safe from violence and intimidation. We want to see a free Zimbabwean press, and we want to see your streets free from soldiers and guns. We want to see the return of all the individual rights enshrined in your Constitution.
I trust that you will see the value in such engagement with your government and that you will honour your minister’s commitment to meet with anyone seeking a solution to this crisis, as expressed in her statement.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Mmusi Maimane MP
The leader of the Official Opposition in South Africa
Chairperson of the Southern African Partnership for Democratic Change