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Condoning human rights violations dangerous – Swartbooi

The leader of the Landless People’s Movement, Bernadus Swartbooi, says the continued tolerance of human rights violations in Zimbabwe will create a push factor, with an influx of people seeking protection for their rights and opportunities for a better life.

“It is pivotal to note that a dangerous precedent is being set when there is a clear indication that democracy did not take place, the constitution was not followed and human rights are being harmed,” Swartbooi said.

He was referring to the just concluded elections in Zimbabwe, alleging that there were several discrepancies that were flagged by the Southern African Development Community election observer mission – from police arresting members of the public, voting delays, the banning of rallies, biased state media coverage and the failure of the electoral commission to give candidates access to the voters’ roll.

“When we allow and give a seal of approval to those who violate their people’s human rights, and see nothing wrong with injustices, we begin to create an avenue for the act of allowing human rights violations to occur,” he said.

“This is when we have scenarios of migrants entering the country in large numbers. Can we accommodate these people? The answer is,no. But while we see their rights being violated, we congratulate their leaders,” Swartbooi said, in a seeming jibe at president Hage Geingob, who congratulated his Zimbabwean counterpart, Emmerson Mnangagwa following his victory in that country’s presidential election held last month.

Geingob conveyed his heartfelt congratulations on behalf of the people and government of Namibia, and praised the democratic process that led to Mnangagwa’s victory, emphasising the significance of peaceful elections in promoting stability and progress within the region.

The head of state further wished Mnangagwa “strength and wisdom” as he embarked on his renewed mandate and expressed eagerness to “collaborate” closely with the Zimbabwean president “to deepen bilateral cooperation and further the shared development agenda of the region”.

Swartbooi maintained that currently, there is a petition calling for a transition government in Zimbabwe and the establishment of a group tasked with negotiating the establishment of this transition government, composed of political parties, civil societies, churches, labour, women and other citizen groupings.