Zimbabwe will not force former Ethiopian 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"..
One such hope is that Ethiopia's former Marxist-leaning leader Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam could finally be brought to justice. Mugabe gave Haile Mariam a residency permit after the latter fled Ethiopia in 1991. His motive for giving Haile Mariam refuge was thought to be to allow the Ethiopian ex-leader to train and arm Zimbabweans during their liberation struggle in the 1970s.
In a campaign aimed at repressing political dissent that would become called the "Red Terror," Mengistu's administration was alleged to have killed an estimated half a million people, including the last emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie.
After the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) came to power, a court sentenced Mengistu to life in prison in absentia. Although the Ethiopian government requested his extradition in 2006, Mugabe reportedly refused to hand over the ex-leader, who was at the time his adviser on Ethiopia's security affairs.
Social media hopes of repatriation
Social media users in Ethiopia have recently been asking about the fate of the 80-year-old Mengistu now that Mugabe is gone.