By Justin Mahlahla
The Zimbabwe Anti-Sanctions Movement (ZASM) has written to the Norwegian Embassy in South Africa expressing displeasure at the embassy’s invitation of anti-Zimbabwe activists and politicians to a dinner to be held tonight in that country.
The dinner is meant to discuss Zimbabwe and is being held in conjunction with the Southern African Liaison Office (SALO), a non-profit making organisation involved in peace-building in the region and beyond.
ZASM outlines several areas of concern regarding the dinner, among them the invitation of pro-sanction individuals and organisations, among other players, while excluding pro-Zimbabwean orgabisations and anti-sanction bodies.
“We ask this in light of the fact that SALO occasionally holds social media dialogues on Zimbabwe and when they do, they also go out of their way to only invite the same anti-Zimbabwean activists and opposition politicians at the exclusion of pro-Zimbabwean activists; anti-sanctions campaigners and moderates from their discussions. We believe that this is done to give a disproportionate ventilation of anti-Zimbabwean propaganda from opposition members (MDCA now CCC) and anti-government activists in an echo chamber that excludes any counter narratives,” the letter reads.
ZASM also queries why the Norwegian embassy has reserved entry to the dinner for only vaccinated people, yet best international practice (which Norway is following) currently does not mandate vaccination for entry into private or public events. Ironically, among the guests that will be hosted tonight are Nelson Chamisa, Gladys Hlatywayo, Lynette Kareni-Kore, Shepherd Mudede and Herbert Mururi; three of whom have not been fully vaccinated, but their RSVPs have been approved by the Embassy.
“The above reasons suffice for us to ask why Norway pretends to champion democracy, while manufacturing consent for imperialism and crimes against humanity upon Zimbabweans by denying pro-Zimbabweans fair and equal access to SALO and Norwegian events, to ventilate perspectives that are currently being muzzled by western propaganda that is aimed at justifying persecution of Africans (dark skinned people) and crimes against humanity upon their people by NATO wars, illegal sanctions, destabilisation and sentiment warfare (propaganda) which you are aiding.
“You as Scandinavians have placed yourselves on a moral pedestal as being beyond corruption, inhumanity or autocracy. So now we challenge you, to honor your self given title of human rights custodians to uphold the precepts of freedom of speech, democracy and human rights, by removing your discriminatory access to this event and future SALO or Norwegian Embassy events for plurality of voices and views,” ZASM adds.