Harare, May 7, 2014 – Joseph Chinotimba, the Zanu PF MP for Buhera North, has asked the European Union to impose sanctions on Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC for allegedly beating up a physically challenged man.
Chinotimba begged the EU to place Tsvangirai, Nelson Chamisa and Douglas Mwonzora on Western sanctions for allegedly beating up “munhu akaremara” (a physically challenged person) Elton Mangoma.
Chinotimba was speaking at a Sapes Trust conference in Harare on Monday running under the theme Zimbabwe going forward — consolidating the democratisation process and reinforcing re-engagement with the global community.
Mangoma in February alleged he had been beaten up by Tsvangirai loyalists while emerging from a party meeting at Harvest House, the MDC headquarters in central Harare.
He lodged a police report, alleging Tsvangirai masterminded the beating, an accusation strenuously rejected by the MDC leader.
The case is now before the courts.
Chinotimba, who was slapped with Western sanctions for alleged human rights abuses, said what was good for the goose should equally be good for the gander.
He accused Western countries, particularly the EU, of treating the MDC with kid gloves when it violates human rights.
Shouting in vernacular, the Buhera North legislator, left the conference in stitches when he suggested that just like his Zanu PF party was under sanctions for terrorising political opponents in the run-up to previous elections, the West should also consider the same punitive measures for the MDC.
“Makaisa isu vanaChinotimba pamasanctions on allegations of human rights abuses saka tinoda kuziva kuti muchaitawo sei neveMDC vakarova munhu akaremara Mangoma. Kana Biti akarohwa zvakaipisisa. Uye akatozvimba. (You slapped Zanu PF officials like myself Chinotimba with sanctions for alleged abuse of human rights. Now I want to know what action you are going to take on the MDC leadership who caused the assault of Mangoma whom is disabled. Even Biti was also assaulted and is badly swollen),” Chinotimba said, speaking through an English interpreter.
In response, Aldo Dell’Ariccia, the EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, said Zanu PF and its leaders had been slapped with the targeted measures because they were in authority hence their actions had the potential to influence the country’s human rights record both for the better and for the worst.
Dell’Ariccia said while he had written to the EU about the situation obtaining in the MDC, the EU envoy said the violence that Chinotimba was alluding to was too minor to warrant sanctions.
“Zanu PF is the party in power and they have capacity to influence things in the country hence the measures,” the envoy said. “There is a difference when one person is assaulted and when several people are tortured and others are even murdered like what we witnessed in the last decade or so.”
He said the EU was ready to work with government in exploring ways that ensure “we can reach the level that will permit the normalisation of relations with Zimbabwe”.