UNITED Nations (UN) special rapporteur, Alena Douhan, who arrives in the country today to assess the impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe, flies into a storm with the ruling Zanu PF party and the opposition MDC Alliance embroiled in a war of words amid politically-motivated violence.
Analysts yesterday described Douhan’s 10-day visit to the country to assess the impact of sanctions as “routine”, adding that the visit may not change the status quo.
Douhan is expected to meet government, opposition political parties and civic society organisations to hear their views on the impact of sanctions that the ruling Zanu PF party claims were affecting ordinary citizens.
Political analyst Alexander Rusero said normally, the UN operates on the basis of consent, co-operation and recommendations and, therefore, her visit was just a routine one.
“It is not a historic visit despite the hype. In diplomacy, it’s just routine work and the unfortunate part is that diplomacy thrives a lot in those routines because prior to that, there is some hype, some momentum and when the visit happens, it will be life as usual, and if you have an authoritarian regime, it continues with its authoritarian act,” he said.
Douhan, who is from Belarus, is expected to come up with a report on the findings that will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council at its 51st session to be held in September next year.
As she jets in, a war of words has erupted between the country’s biggest political parties, Zanu PF and the MDC Alliance over last week’s violence perpetrated on the opposition party leader Nelson Chamisa by ruling party activists and the police in Masvingo province.
Chamisa’s convoy was attacked, leaving several aides and supporters injured and vehicles damaged.
Zanu PF has described the attacks on Chamisa as “theatrics” ahead of Douhan’s visit
In turn, Chamisa has accused Zanu PF of hiding behind sanctions to justify corruption and looting of State resources at the expense of ordinary citizens who were languishing in poverty.
Zanu PF director of information Tafadzwa Mugwadi yesterday told NewsDay that the visit by the UN envoy was an opportunity to expose the illegality of sanctions and expose the opposition’s hand in the imposition of the restrictive measures as a regime change tool.