HARARE - Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (Zef) yesterday angrily slammed gushing praises for President Robert Mugabe by Julius Malema, South Africa’s Economic Freedom Front (EFF) opposition leader that the problems in Zimbabwe were not caused by the nonagenarian but by “capital”.
Zef chairperson and human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba said that his organisation was “outraged and disgusted that the EFF president, who a few weeks ago was condemning xenophobic violence in South Africa, was now apparently in condonation of Mugabe’s atrocities that have forced millions into exile.”
Malema told journalists at a press conference in Johannesburg last week: “How do you say a man who has won elections is a tyrant? He has never preceded over any massacre of our people; he continues to lead a party that advocates for very radical economic policies in Zimbabwe.”
Zef said the statements by Malema are at odds with the realities that have forced close to a quarter of Zimbabwe’s population into foreign lands.
Shumba said Mugabe has never won any free and fair election in Zimbabwe, hence the country’s international isolation.
“If Mugabe was a darling of the Zimbabwean people, there would not be any need to silence dissent, abduct and torture human rights activists and opponents,” he said.
“If he had been an economic champion, we would not have a situation where over 85 percent of our people are unemployed and the social infrastructure has been devastated. Evidently, we would not now be dependent on food handouts from the United Nations, which are distributed along party lines.”
Shumba called on the EFF president to make time to meet him so that he would explain the situation in Zimbabwe “with the needed clarity, otherwise Malema’s statement has the dangerous potential of fuelling more hate and xenophobia against Zimbabweans in the Republic of South Africa.”