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Murderers must be brought to justice

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AN ambitious quest by the Zimbabwean government to re-engage the international community after years of self-inflicted ostracisation has ended in shame, confirming what the world already knew: Zanu PF is incapable of reform.

The post-coup honeymoon which saw the British government entertaining the idea that Emmerson Mnangagwa is the best Zimbabwean politician to work with came to a dramatic end this week when Whitehall imposed sanctions on his securocrats.

Four security sector chiefs responsible for serious human rights violations — including the deaths of dozens of unarmed protestors — have been designated under the United Kingdom’s new autonomous sanctions regime, Foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced.

The four are Owen Ncube, minister for State Security; Isaac Moyo, director-general of the Central Intelligence Organisation; Godwin Matanga, commissioner-general of the Zimbabwe Republic Police; and Anselem Sanyatwe, former commander of the Presidential Guard and tactical commander of the National Reaction Force which slaughtered protesters.

These four men cannot freely travel to the UK, channel money through UK banks or profit from that economy. The targeted sanctions include a travel ban and asset freeze.

It is yet another stark reminder that the world will neither forget nor ignore the atrocities of 1 August 2018 and mid-January 2019. The Mnangagwa regime committed horrific international crimes; the blood of the victims is crying out for justice.

The impunity of this government is astounding.

An official commission of enquiry, chaired by former South African Kgalema Motlanthe, concluded that the military carried out the killings.

The probe also recommended that the perpetrators be prosecuted and the victims compensated.

Identities of the soldiers who murdered those unarmed civilians are known; some of the shootings were beamed live on international television. The commanders who led the atrocities are known.

The politicians who ordered the deployments of soldiers and police are known. Despite the glut of evidence — and this is where Mnangagwa’s blood-tainted leadership ethos displays its true colours — no action has been taken.

The murderous soldiers and police are still walking scot free. Those who deployed them are free to continue orchestrating more human rights violations. The victims and their families have not been compensated.

There is something tragic about Zanu PF leaders’ assumption that they can practise primitive Stone Age politics in a 21st century global community and literally get away with murder.

What kind of leaders are these? Impunity has defined Zimbabwean politics for far too long.

It may take years to bring the killers to justice because they deem themselves untouchable, but the world is watching and one day these egregious crimes will be punished.

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