The ruling Zanu-PF has castigated a vocal United Kingdom lawmaker Jonathan Oates (Lord Oates), a British Liberal Democrat politician and member of the House of Lords, accusing him of being undemocratic and hobnobbing with the Zimbabwean opposition in pursuit of a regime change agenda.
Oates has been one of the many UK lawmakers who have consistently criticised President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime, accusing the government of violating human rights and failing to observe the rule of law.
The UK lawmaker has also accused the government of targeting the opposition through arbitrary arrests while shrinking the democratic space but his position has angered the ruling Zanu-PF which described him on Wednesday as undemocratic.
“He is not democratically elected himself. He is a Lord by heredity,” Zanu-PF spokesperson Chris Mutsvangwa said.
“The opposition likes those people who are deviants in society. Why choose those friends? Spare us the Lord Oates of this world who are not democratic themselves,” Mutsvangwa added.
Oates recently told the Zimbabwean government to respect and uphold the country’s constitution or else it remains a subject of international scrutiny.
This came as Zimbabwe recently told the UK and United States officials to stop meddling in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.
The British lawmaker recently triggered debate in the House of Lords on Zimbabwe’s alleged failure to uphold the constitution and respect human rights while also accusing Zanu-PF of actively undermining the country’s main opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC).
Mutsvangwa recently said Oates was a political toddler suffering from colonial hangover, saying he was an intelligence agent during his days in Zimbabwe under the guise of being a teacher.
But Oates dismissed Mutsvangwa’s allegations as desperate lies, insisting he was a teacher in rural Zimbabwe in the 1980s.
Oates has raised several issues of concern on Zimbabwe in the House of Commons including the Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) Amendment Bill and the proposed Patriotic Bill that he said will further shrink the democratic space under Mnangagwa.
The UK has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe over human rights abuses including the August 2018 shootings and the January 2019 fuel protests killings that saw Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) boss Isaac Moyo, former Presidential Guard commander now Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Tanzania Anselem Sanyatwe and former State Security minister Owen Ncube being placed under sanctions.