By Kitsepile Nyathi
Zimbabwe will not force former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Hailemariam to return home despite the fall of his ally and Robert Mugabe, official said.
Mengistu fled Ethiopia after he was toppled in 1991 after a brutal reign that left thousands of his compatriots dead.
He fled to Zimbabwe and was protected by Mr Mugabe’s government even after he was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia for his role in the terror campaign.
Zimbabwean opposition parties have been calling for Mengistu’s extradition since Mr Mugabe was forced to step down after a military coup on November 15.
However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba rubbished the opposition’s demands saying they should stop meddling in “issues they had no knowledge about”..
“I thought that was not a domestic issue,” he was quoted saying by the Daily News.
“Where are they (the opposition) coming in?
“The Ethiopian government has not said anything, who then are they to poke their noses when his own government has not said anything?
“They do not even know how he came here. His issue is covered by an international protocol.”
Mr Charamba said Mr Mengistu’s extradition was not among the new government’s priorities.
“We cannot be seen spending time and effort on that issue when there are pressing national issues to attend to,” he said.
“After all, we have so many other people in this country.
“Don’t we have the Rwandese, the Congolese and Mozambicans, why then him.”
The Zimbabwean opposition once accused Mengistu of advising Mr Mugabe on policies that were meant to clamp down on dissent.
However, the former Ethiopian dictator continues to keep a low profile and is never seen in public.