Posting on his Twitter account @ChrisCoons ,US Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said reports of violent government-sponsored attacks in Zimbabwe since the elections on July 30 will leave the Zimbabwean government accountable for victims.
Coons said he has been alarmed by the arrest of opposition supporters.
“I am particularly alarmed to hear that members of the MDC alliance have been detained by government-backed security forces. Reports of the detention of Tendai Biti at the Zambian border are especially unnerving.
“The U.S. Senate will hold the government of Zimbabwe responsible for ensuring Mr. Biti and other detainees are not harmed in any way. I also call upon the Trump Administration, the U.S. State Department, the governments of Zimbabwe, Zambia and other regional actors to stand against politically motivated arrests and to support and promote the rule of law.
He pleaded with the African regional body, Zambia and the Donald Trump administration to stand up against political violence saying the Zimbabwean government will be held responsible for the safety of the MDC Alliance senior officials among them Biti who has been denied an asylum in Zambia.
Biti is understood to have fled to the North seeking refugee after a State security agents crackdown on MDC Alliance senior figures post the 30 July elections violence.
The violence left at least seven people dead and several injured while property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed in the skirmishes.
Coons added that it is not a crime for opposition establishment in a democratic country like Zimbabwe describing the recent hunt down of Tendai Biti among other senior officials as outrageous.
“Political opposition is not a crime. The government of Zimbabwe’s pursuit of Tendai Biti, a senior member of the opposition MDC Alliance, is outrageous and casts more doubt on the government’s claims that it’s turned a page on its past use of violence and intimidation.”
The 30 July harmonized elections were described as critical by international observers who expected a break from the past since the new dispensation under the leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa had projected itself as reformed administration.
Although Mnangagwa has been applauded for guaranteeing peace during the campaign period which was largely peaceful, the shooting of civilians on the 1st of August has brought memories of the past whereby Robert Mugabe used security forces to eliminate, arrest, torture and intimidation of his political foes.
The US has thus called for the government to stop with immediate effect, to hunt down political opponents Zimbabwe’s political situation is heavily monitored and reports of arrests and detention of opposition political activists are worrying.
“I am watching the situation in Zimbabwe very closely, and I am concerned about reports of arbitrary arrests, detentions, and government-sponsored violence. These tactics have no place in a democracy, and the government must ensure they stop immediately,” he said.
The US position on Zimbabwe’s political situation might have an impact on relations with the global community which Zimbabwe desperately seeks.