Zimbabwean ex-president Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, has reportedly reacted “angrily” after the African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat praised the Zimbabwean government for the country’s “peaceful political transition” last year.
Mahamat was on a three-day visit to Zimbabwe, where he met with President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who according to the state-owned Herald newspaper “apprised him of measures being taken by his government to ensure free and fair elections”.
Mnangagwa also briefed Mahamat on the peaceful political transition that took place in the southern African country last year, the report said.
A News Day report quoted Mahamat as saying that Africa was “satisfied that the transition was peaceful”.
Mahamat also expressed ignorance over a petition by a new political outfit, the New Patriotic Front (NPF), which was reportedly launched recently by Zhuwao and his allies.
The NPF claimed recently that it had “formally petitioned” the AU and Southern African Development Community (SADC) to challenge Mnangagwa’s legitimacy.
In a 79 page document, the NPF, through its the lawyer Marius van Niekerk, argued that Mnangagwa came into office through military intervention, and as a result, should not be recognised as the southern African nation’s president.
But Mahamat told journalists in Harare that: “I am just learning from you now. I’ve not received any petition.”
In response, Zhuwao, who was currently in exile, came out guns blazing, accusing Mahamat of supporting a “coup government in Zimbabwe”, a New Zimbabwe.com report said.
Zhuwao described Mahamat’s remarks as “astonishing, baseless and false”.
He said that Mahamat’s statement was “partial and partisan” as there were no records of him engaging with “affected stakeholders, including victims and families of those who were killed and tortured during the coup leading to the displacement of countless Zimbabweans both internal and externally”.
Zhuwao also warned that the recognition of the Mnangagwa administration by the continental body risked setting a precedence for other African countries. – News24