One of Zimbabwe’s leading publishers Trevor Ncube says he is one of those who has supported the opposition for decades financially and otherwise but it has been disappointing so it is his democratic right to change his mind.
Ncube was commenting on the spat between Zimbabwe’s richest man Strive Masiyiwa of Econet and Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth.
The two have been embroiled in an acrimonious exchange after Masiyiwa came to the defence of his wife Tsitsi who was forced to close her twitter account because of bullying. Masiyiwa accused Human Rights Watch Southern Africa director Dewa Mavhinga of being one of the bullies.
Roth came to Mavhinga’s defence and accused Masiyiwa of being a defender of Mnangagwa.
The tweet that sparked off the whole debate read: “Some outcries and actions in pursuit of justice seem and look so right until you discover the source of the outcry and sponsor of the cause. Take a step back and reflect on some of the things we consider ‘good and just causes.’ #FoodForThought”
Mavhinga responded: “If you are implying that all and any outcry & pursuit of justice is sponsored then that is really sad. When your husband pursued his fight to be licensed it was a just cause. In such position of privilege you should choose your words more carefully, lest it promote injustice.”
In his defence of Mavhinga, Roth tweeted: “Defenders of Zimbabwe Pres Mnangagwa don’t want to hear criticism of his government’s persistent repression so they pretend all critics are foreign sponsored. A cheap shot. Why not address the reality?”
Masiyiwa did not take kindly to Roth’s tweet and narrated how he had been hounded by the Zimbabwe government into exile, and how he had looked after leaders of the opposition while they were in exile in South Africa.
He said maybe Roth was upset by his call for sanctions on Zimbabwe to be removed because they were hurting the ordinary people.
Masiyiwa said he still stood by that position because sanctions were like a man trying to kill a fly with a hammer.
Zimbabwe has been under United States sanctions since 2003.
“Consider Mr Roth that it is possible that we Zimbabweans would like to have an opportunity [ON OUR OWN] to also evaluate some of the options and tools to bring peace, and true democracy. How will we achieve this, if you take it upon yourself to decide what we should think and what views we should hold or even who we should talk to without you passing withering judgement on us?
“What are you afraid of? How can you of all people tweet that Jonathan Moyo is a champion of democracy and call me a ‘defender of repression’. Come on man.”
Trevor Ncube tweeted: “I am 100% with @StriveMasiyiwa on this. For decades some of us supported the opposition MDC financially and otherwise. The opposition has disappointed many times. We have democratic right to change our minds. Sanctions are hurting all Zimbabweans @KenRoth.”