By NQOBANI NDLOVU
THREATS to drag President Emmerson Mnangagwa and some of his top government officials to the International Criminal Court (ICC) over human rights violations will not solve the country’s crises, but only harden those in positions of authority, and prolong the people’s suffering, the Dutch Reformed Church has warned.
This is contained in a position paper compiled by church officials, Braam Hanekom and Llewellyn MacMaster based in South Africa following their recent working visit to Zimbabwe to probe the aftermath of last month’s deadly protests.
Hanekom, a director of the Centre for Public Witness and emeritus moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church in the Western and Southern Cape and MacMaster, a moderator of Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa, met civic society organisations, lawyers, Counselling Services Unit (CSU), academics, former parliamentarians and prominent clergy, including pastor Evan Mawarire during their visit.
In the paper, Hanekom and MacMaster suggested mediation between Mnangagwa and the opposition, which they said should be facilitated by “level-headed” people to create a “win-win” situation.
“Amnesty and assurance that the International Criminal Court will not strike out at senior government officials is important. Otherwise a ‘fight-to-the-end’ scenario is definitely on the table. Traditional opposition politics will not function now.
“Pressure alone, however, won’t work because you are dealing with a military situation that only knows one form of action. What is required is influence by people who do not necessarily want to overthrow a government, but are level-headed and creating a win-win situation,” the position paper reads in part.
“At this stage, we are pleading for intervention from institutions like the office of the Archbishop in Cape Town, the South African Council of Churches, the National Church Leaders Consultation, the South African and international governments.”
South Africa’s opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane has threatened to drag Mnangagwa to the ICC over the military crackdown which claimed 17 lives, leaving over 80 others nursing gunshot wounds as civilians took to the streets to protest a 150% fuel price hike.