Ramaphosa’s envoys fail to meet opposition amid Zimbabwe crisis

Special envoys sent by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa in response to the crisis in its northern neighbour Zimbabwe cancelled their meeting with the opposition after they met with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The two envoys were sent last week after Zimbabwe’s government suppressed protests and arrested dozens of activists and opposition politicians.

The main opposition MDC Alliance said its delegation had been on stand-by since receiving a request days earlier to meet the envoys on Monday. But the proposed meeting was called off towards the end of the day.

The envoys returned to South Africa soon after meeting with President Mnangagwa and a delegation of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

“We can only assume that the failure to meet the MDC Alliance delegation was a result of demands made by the Zanu-PF delegation,” read a statement from the opposition party.

It accused Mr Mnangagwa of not being ready to “resolve the national crisis through genuine dialogue”.

Zanu-PF has not commented on the allegations made by the opposition.

The banned anti-government protests had been called to denounce the poor state of the economy and corruption.

The government has been cracking down on activists and opposition politicians, sparking global outrage in the form of a hashtag #ZimbabweanLivesMatter.

Some Zimbabweans have been staging so-called solo protests on social media in defiance.