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Chamisa's MDC gives nod to SADC for calling out Zanu-PF on reforms

by Staff reporter
30 Oct 2021 at 14:00hrs | Views
Zimbabwe's main opposition MDC Alliance on Tuesday said regional bloc SADC had struck the right tone when it called for the lifting of personal sanctions on Zimbabwean officials, while also leaning on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to pursue dialogue and implement political reforms.

SADC chairman and Malawi president Lazarus Chakwera on Monday called for "meaningful and constructive dialogue… with a view to consolidate the rule of law, democracy, governance and human rights" in Zimbabwe.

"It is only through such exchanges that better appreciation of concerns of all parties could be secured and progress towards their resolution be achieved," Chakwera said as he urged western countries to "support Zimbabwe's efforts towards implementing her reform agenda."

MDC Alliance vice president Welshman Ncube said the statement was welcome a departure from SADC's oft-stated position to condemn the individual sanctions, while offering no pathway out of Zimbabwe's political logjam.

"For the first time after a long time, SADC is clearly recognising that the crisis in Zimbabwe is multi-faceted by accepting that the international isolation of Zimbabwe is a result of bilateral and multilateral disputes that Zimbabwe has with the international community," Ncube told a news conference in Harare.

"All along SADC has supported Zimbabwe for the lifting of sanctions, but it has always been reluctant to accept the core deficit which has resulted in the international isolation.

"It is imperative that we cannot go talking with the Americans, the British and the European Union when we have not talked with ourselves.

"That reform agenda needs to be national, needs to be locally grounded and needs to be agreed to by the stakeholders in Zimbabwe. It cannot be a reform agenda unilaterally adopted or fronted by Zanu-PF.

"We welcome this recognition that there is need for reform in Zimbabwe. Issues around rule of law, deficit on democracy, the deficit on good governance, and the violations of human rights are all captured for the first time in that SADC statement and we welcome them."

The Zanu-PF government held choreographed events across the country on Monday, with supporters denouncing "sanctions" which they claimed were the cause of Zimbabwe's economic crisis. The United States and the European Union said there were no trade sanctions on Zimbabwe, but personal sanctions on listed individuals and the state arms company.

Ncube said Zimbabwe was in perpetual state of political crisis which "manifested most sharply during elections."

Zanu-PF youths tried to disrupt the MDC Alliance press conference held at the law firm of MDC vice president Tendai Biti. Police had to intervene before it commenced.

In the last two weeks in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces, MDC Alliance president Nelson Chamisa rode the gauntlet of stone-throwing Zanu-PF supporters accusing him of inviting sanctions. Several officials were hurt.

Said Ncube: "The issues relating to the rule of law and the capture of the courts have reached unprecedented levels which we never experienced during Robert Mugabe's rule.

"The violence taking place continuously is epitomised by what you see outside the constant, continuous violation of our basic rights. We have people gathering outside today to seek to intimidate us from exercising our political rights."

Ncube said while the MDC Alliance was open to dialogue with Zanu-PF on the way forward, it had no interest in engaging political leaders and parties who had no verifiable electoral support.

"In a democracy, one of the fundamental things is consultation. POLAD [Political Actors Dialogue] was born unilaterally, constituted by President Mnangagwa alone without consulting anybody," Ncube said of the much-maligned body to which Mnangagwa invited the two-dozen losing presidential candidates from the 2018 election. MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and seven others boycotted the platform, with Chamisa accusing Mnangagwa of election fraud.

"The second principle is that if you are to have a seat anywhere where there is dialogue concerning the rights of people, you must have a constituency," Ncube went on.

"The people who have a constituency in this country are those political parties who were supported by Zimbabweans at the last election. The MDC Alliance cannot agree to be at a table with individuals who have no political party, ran as presidential candidates and got zero votes in the majority of polling stations.

"We don't believe you should be at the dialogue table merely because you contested at a presidential election. We don't believe POLAD is a viable platform for dialogue."

The MDC Alliance is anxious to get the Zanu-PF government to accept a raft of electoral reforms ahead of elections in 2023.

Source - ZimLive
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