By Prince Kurupati
South Africa’s main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has called upon Cyril Ramaphosa to intervene in the Zimbabwe crisis. In an address at the Cape Town Press Club, the leader of the DA Mmusi Maimane said that Cyril Ramaphosa had a duty to engage with the leader of Zimbabwe so as to save the lives of millions of Zimbabweans who are under siege following a violent government response to protests.
In his call which is also a thinly veiled attack on the ANC (South Africa’s ruling party), Maimane said the violence witnessed in Zimbabwe in recent times is the story of liberation movements and their splinter parties everywhere.
“The ANC — along with every other so-called revolutionary party that has sprung up recently like mushrooms in the forest — desperately wants you to believe that you still need to be liberated from something or someone. That’s all they know, and so they create imaginary enemies and wage imaginary wars. Their language, their ideology and their ideas got stuck a long time ago…The more they fail at being a government, the more they will try to convince you that you need them for the struggle. And, having destroyed the systems and the institutions that make up a government, they will ask you to put your hope and your trust in individual leaders, personalities whom they will try to elevate to icons.”
Maimane went on to say that, “As we grapple with our own path forward, we could also do well to reflect on the situation in Zimbabwe right now. They too were asked to believe that a new leader [Emmerson Mnangagwa] of a failed liberation movement [Zanu–PF] would steer them towards a different outcome. And now they are discovering that a government runs on systems and not individuals. If those systems are broken, it doesn’t matter who is in charge.”
DA’s party’s spokesperson on International Relations and Co-operation, Stevens Mokgalapa echoed the same sentiments going further to state that “If Ramaphosa fails to intervene and advise Mnangagwa to stop the military clampdown on civilians, the DA will be left with no option but to approach the ICC to consider a preliminary investigation into these violations as outlined in the Rome Statute.”
Stevens Mokgalapa said that the DA is ready to take the ICC route as a corrective measure following Thabo Mbeki’s disastrous quiet diplomacy. In 2008, at the height of Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis, Thabo Mbeki was asked to intervene in the Zimbabwe crisis. He duly travelled to Zimbabwe but upon his arrival, he announced that there was ‘no crisis’ in Zimbabwe, this despite, the fact that thousands of Zimbabweans were being beaten, tortured and others killed by security forces mostly the intelligence officers while millions of others were facing starvation.
News24 states that the ICC’s Office of the Prosecutor is empowered by the Rome Statute to ‘…determine whether there is sufficient evidence of crimes of sufficient gravity falling within the ICC’s jurisdiction, whether there are genuine national proceedings, and whether opening an investigation would serve the interests of justice and of the victims. Mokgalapa said the DA strongly believed that the human rights crisis currently existing in Zimbabwe was of sufficient gravity to warrant an ICC investigation “because, according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, at least 12 people have been killed, 78 shot at and 240 faced ‘assault, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment’.”