By Nomalanga Moyo
SW Radio Africa
02 June 2014
Scores of UK-based ZANU PF activists who have been lying low are coming out into the open and forming branches of the political party as they demonstrate their support for the regime.
The latest branch to be launched this week in Bracknell, in central southern England, was attended by dozens of the regime’s supporters whose names reflect the current ZANU PF leadership.
Other branches have been launched in Kent, Coventry, Birmingham, and Harlow.
A snapshot of the list of attendees included prominent ZANU PF names such as Mliswa, Chidarikire, Chikowore, Vambe, Mangwana, Mararike, among others.
Ephraim Tapa, rights activist and coordinator at UK-based lobby group ZimVigil, said while he is not shocked that there are so many regime agents in the UK, their brazenness had surprised him.
“We have always known that there are regime agents among us. Until recently they have been working clandestinely, feeding the regime with information and also infiltrating organisations such as the ZimVigil to cause confusion and disunity.
“However, I find their audacity to launch branches across the UK surprising, given their leader Robert Mugabe’s terrible human rights record.
“This is disrespectful to victims of Mugabe’s brutality and it will cause anxiety as people realise that all along they had ZANU PF agents in their midst,” Tapa said.
Tapa added that instead of endorsing Mugabe’s misrule, the ZANU PF activists should reflect on the freedoms they enjoy in Europe which millions of Zimbabweans back home have been denied.
“In the UK they are able to organise, associate, and express themselves freely yet their relatives in government won’t allow the majority of Zimbabweans to do that.”
Tapa blamed the European Union’s re-engagement drive which he said was “sending signals that it is now OK to do business with ZANU PF when in reality nothing has changed”.
“That is where these people are deriving their energy and confidence from. With the EU showing its support, the Mugabe regime and its supporters no longer see any reason to change or hide.”
He said ZimVigil will be lobbying the UK government to conduct a status review for any ZANU PF activist granted the right to stay in the country by falsely claiming that they were facing persecution back home. Some misrepresented themselves as MDC supporters he added.
MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said it is well known that ZANU PF officials sent their families abroad when conditions began to deteriorate in the country.
“After plundering and destroying all sectors, including education, they sent their children and families to western countries to protect them from the consequences of their bad governance.
“Some of these sought asylum when in fact their parents and families were the perpetrators of the violence. We find it ironical that these would choose to declare their allegiance to the regime in the comfort of western democracies,” Dube said.
Dube slammed ZANU PF officials for their double standards in calling for exiled Zimbabweans to return home when their own families are showing no inclination to do so.