- Human rights - Governance
Zimbabwe: Chinamasa condemns UN Special Rapporteur
Prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed grave displeasure at the illegal detention and subsequent deportation from Harare of Manfred Nowak, a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture.
But Zanu PF accuses Nowak creating ’a very bad spirit’ between Harare and the UN. Tsvangirai said embossing “naturally attracts condemnation as it dents the country’s efforts to be an acceptable member of the family of progressive nations”
"The Prime Minister is particularly incensed that this comes at a time when Zimbabwe is on a mission to re-engage the international community and solicit much-needed support following years of isolation," said Tsvangirai in a statement posted on his website.
"We are battling to convince the world that issues of human rights and the rule of law are being accorded their deserving priority and that incremental gains are being scored in the expansion of democratic space in the country. This action naturally attracts condemnation as it dents the country’s efforts to be an acceptable member of the family of progressive nations," said the Prime Minister.
Nowak was meant to visit Zimbabwe from October 29 to November 4 at the invitation of the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick Chinamasa, a senior Zanu PF member.
A request was submitted to the Prime Minister’s office that Nowack pays a courtesy call during his visit. The request was granted and set for Thursday the 29th of October at 1000hrs.
Tsvangirai said he only learnt of the deportation at about 0800hrs close to an hour after Nowak had been bundled out of the country. "This is a major incident because you can’t on the one hand invite a special rapporteur to meet the prime minister and on the other hand somebody gives an order to the immigration police not to let me in," Nowak is quoted saying.
He said his treatment showed there were clearly parts of the government who did not want him to assess "the current conditions of torture", and promised to file a strongly worded complaint.
But Chinamasa has defended the deportation saying he took the last-minute decision to cancel Nowak’s visit and that Nowak’s insistence on pressing ahead with the trip was creating ’a very bad spirit’ between Harare and the UN.
’At the last minute, I conveyed through the ministry of foreign affairs that we were not able to host him at this stage because I have a SADC troika team in the country and I was going to be busy since I am negotiator,’ Chinamasa said. ’He (Nowak) should not have come,’ Chinamasa added.