Lobbyist wants answers from new UN chief

HARARE - The outgoing secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, leaves office in the next 10 days after failing to respond to calls to intervene in Zimbabwe’s deepening rights abuses.

Ban, a South Korean citizen who leaves his current post at the end of the year, is being replaced by Antonio Guterres.

The 193 member states adopted by acclamation a resolution appointing the former prime minister of Portugal for a five-year term beginning January 1, 2017.

The socialist politician, who also served as UN refugee chief for a decade, is expected to play a more prominent role as the world’s diplomat-in-chief than Ban, who will step down after two five-year terms.

Francisca Mandeya, who has been pushing a petition for the UN chief to convince Zimbabwe’s rulers to stop violating human rights, has said the international body still owes Zimbabwe an answer.

This comes after Mandeya wrote to the world body demanding that it intervenes in Zimbabwe, in correspondences which have not yet been replied to.

“I am proceeding to contact UN before the end of the year to remind them that they officially owe Zimbabweans an answer. We intend to take the issue up with the new secretary-general next year.

“We understand Mnangagwa (Vice President Emmerson) was called to Geneva to answer questions on the human rights situation but that does not satisfy us as we want direct answers from UN,” Mandeya said.

She said the situation in Zimbabwe required a combined effort.

Zimbabwe’s human rights record has been under scrutiny following recent reports of abductions and torture of activists opposed to President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Mandeya, whose online petition has over 16 000 signatures, has vowed that she will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the country is put on the international agenda.

Speaking from her Canada base, Mandeya said she is using songs and all media platforms to bring the Zimbabwean story to the attention of the international community.

“Our next move is to garner support from international media and to use all avenues in social media to ensure that the UN secretary-general is personally aware of the petition and pressure keeps mounting while the signatures keep flowing.

“With enough media attention on the issue, the petition will be noticed by our decision maker even without adhering to their bureaucratic process,” Mandeya said.

“. . . the UN is aware of this petition but it has not responded to address the issues in our plea for protection.” She said every Zimbabwean has a duty to play in speaking out against oppression.

According to Mandeya’s online petition, the incoming UN chief must intervene in the situation she said is slowly getting out of hand, adding that Zimbabweans are in a deep crisis that is currently being downplayed.

“This is a global campaign to save Zimbabweans as they push for change by refusing to be bullied. Abduction and murder are real for those who dare challenge the system,” reads part of the petition.

The petition also demanded Mugabe’s resignation to pave a way for a new government which has the capacity to turn around the country’s fortunes.

Comments (1)

Just keep put pressure on the UN

Ko - 20 December 2016

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