Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Zimbabwe's new leaders urged to respect rights

Published:Wednesday | November 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Zimbabweans drink, dance, sing and ride on a passing truck as they celebrate at night at an intersection in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe, yesterday.

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP):

Human-rights groups are urging Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law as the country shifts into an era without Robert Mugabe.

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty said in a statement that the people of Zimbabwe deserve better "after more than three decades of violent repression".

Shetty said that during Mugabe's 37 years in power, "Tens of thousands of people were tortured, forcibly disappeared or killed. President Mugabe condoned human-rights violations, defended criminal actions of his officials, and allowed a culture of impunity for grotesque crimes to thrive."




Some Zimbabweans and observers are watching with concern as Mugabe's longtime deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa is poised to be sworn in within the next day.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said Robert Mugabe was "a despot who impoverished his country" and his exit is a "moment of joy" for Zimbabwe.

Johnson said he hopes Mugabe's resignation will be a turning point and that there should now be "free and fair democratic elections and above all not a transition from one despotic rule to another".

Johnson said Mugabe played a major role in the creation of an independent Zimbabwe but had "allowed that legacy to be squandered and his country went, I'm afraid, to wrack and ruin".

Asked if Mugabe and his wife, Grace, should face justice, Johnson said: "That is a decision for the people of Zimbabwe."

Britain is the former colonial power.

The deputy spokesman for the UN secretary general said Antonio Guterres is encouraging all Zimbabweans to "maintain calm and restraint" after the resignation of President Robert Mugabe.

Farhan Haq also said any analysis of the developments is up to journalists.

He said that "the secretary general and his predecessors have made clear that we expect all leaders to listen to their people. That is a cornerstone of every form of government and needs to be followed in every continent and in every nation".