Xenophobia can easily mutate into genocide - Zim minister

Harare - Zimbabwe's outspoken information minister, Jonathan Moyo, hit out on Tuesday at xenophobic attacks in South Africa, warning that xenophobia could "easily mutate" into genocide.

"King [Goodwill] Zwelithini must extinguish what he ignited. Xenophobia is a crime against humanity," Moyo tweeted in one of the first public reactions from a Zimbabwe government official to the wave of violence that has horrified many Zimbabweans.

"Xenophobia today can easily mutate into genocide tomorrow. Stop It," Moyo said, using the hashtag #AfrophobiainSAMustEnd.

South Africa is home to at least one million Zimbabweans, many of them illegal residents.

Moyo also hit back at ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe's criticism of President Robert Mugabe's treatment of whites, saying Zimbabwe did not agree with the ANC's view on blacks.

The information minister, who is behind Zimbabwe's tough press laws, tweeted a link to a story headlined "We differ with Mugabe on whites: Mantashe" and commented: "And we differ with @MyANC_on blacks!"

"In ZANU-PF we reject Afrophobia," Moyo said in another tweet.

His comments were in reaction to Mantashe's claim on Monday that the ANC "theorise[s] colonialism differently to Zanu-PF".

Meanwhile, there have been calls on Zimbabwean social media for locals to boycott a show by Durban-based group Big Nuz in protest against the xenophobic violence. The group is due to perform in Bulawayo on Friday.

Not everyone agrees with a boycott. Twitter user @patphiri said: "So are people also going to boycott #SABC soapies/ SA PSL/ SA booze kumbe #BigNuz #Cassper are the fall guys."

Mduduzi Mathuthu, editor of the state-controlled Chronicle newspaper, tweeted: "Shrill calls to bar Big Nuz from performing in Byo on Friday over SA #xenophobia. I prefer Big Nuz to come, perform and condemn #xenophobia."

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