Mnangagwa decries 'divisive falsehoods' over rights abuse claims

Zimbabwe celebrates Heroes' Day. But there seems to be no end in sight to its economic and political woes. Recent protests over corruption and economic hardship have resulted in multiple arrests. This amid shortages of fuel and food and a collapse in the local currency. Duduzile Ramela talks to #eNCA Correspondent Pindai Dube. Courtesy #DStv403

HARARE - Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday called criticism of human rights abuses by his government "divisive falsehoods" and said his administration was under renewed attack from domestic and foreign opponents.

Mnangagwa, during a Heroes Day speech in Harare, said the allegations were "unjustified attacks by our perennial detractors, both inside and outside our border".

READ: Mnangagwa warns he will 'flush' out opponents

"The divisive falsehoods and concoctions by renegades and supremacists who want to pounce on our natural resources will never win the day," said Mnangagwa.

"Truth shall triumph over lies, and good over evil."

Hopes that Mnangagwa would unite a polarised country and revive a stricken economy following the Mugabe era have been dashed. Like his predecessor, Mnangagwa accuses the West of funding the opposition to destabilise the country.

Human rights groups and lawyers say activists are being arrested, abducted and tortured after they called for street demonstrations on July 31, which the government snuffed out by deploying security forces.

READ: Anti-govt protests are revolt by opposition - Mnangagwa

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change says about 30 of its members have fled their homes fearing abduction or arrest by state security agents.

The events in Zimbabwe have worried South Africa enough that President Cyril Ramaphosa sent two veteran politicians -- Sydney Mufamadi and Baleka Mbete -- to Harare.

The envoys arrived on Monday and were expected to meet Mnangagwa later in the day, a government official said.

READ: MDC welcomes SA special envoy to Zimbabwe​​​​​​​

Critics also say Mnangagwa is using the cover of a COVID-19 lockdown to silence critics as anger grows over 737 percent inflation -- which has brought back memories of hyperinflation under Mugabe a decade ago -- a collapsing health sector and shortage of public transport.

Mnangagwa, however, said his government had set a firm foundation "for a thriving constitutional democracy, and a just, open, accountable and prosperous society".

President Cyril Ramaphosa SA envoy to Zimbabwe as crisis deepens. While some have welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's move to send a special envoy to help mediate the situation, other analysts say it's simply not enough. Duduzile Ramela talks to Ibbo Mandaza, a political analyst. #eNCA Courtesy #DStv403