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Chamisa's supporters demand extraordinary Sadc summit

by Staff reporter
15 Sep 2023 at 06:23hrs | Views
A significant number of Zimbabweans affiliated with the opposition have submitted a petition to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), urging the organization to convene an extraordinary summit aimed at resolving the country's political impasse in the wake of last month's contested elections.

These developments have unfolded amid a series of protests by opposition parties and Civil Society Organizations expressing dissatisfaction with the election results, which declared President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the winner.

The elections, held on August 23 and 24, have been widely criticized by local, regional, and international observer missions for their substantial flaws. However, the ruling Zanu-PF party insists that the polls were free and fair. President Mnangagwa has encouraged the opposition to seek legal recourse, but the main opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), has rejected the legal route, claiming that the judiciary is biased.

Instead, CCC leader Nelson Chamisa has launched a diplomatic campaign within the region to push for fresh elections supervised by both SADC and the African Union.

As of yesterday, more than 3,679 people had signed the petition initiated by a group known as "Zimbabwean Citizens," with a target of 5,000 signatures.

The petition reads: "Recognizing that on August 23, 2023, Zimbabwe held what was supposed to be a harmonized general election. We, the people of Zimbabwe, united in our common desire for democracy, constitutionality, and constitutionalism, demand an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe, a full member State of SADC, and demand a fresh, free, fair, and credible election."

"These elections were not held in accordance with the provisions of the Zimbabwe election law as defined in the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe, a member of SADC, did not also follow the SADC guidelines on elections."

"Since the declaration of results by Zec, there have been multiple incidents of abductions and torture, burning down of property belonging to supporters of the opposition, among other things. We demand that SADC hold an extraordinary meeting to address the Zimbabwe elections issue, which is now threatening the stability of the region. Zimbabwe needs fresh elections that conform to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and SADC guidelines on elections."

Another petition, led by respected local academics Ibbo Mandaza and Tony Reeler, called on the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security to oversee a political settlement in the country. As of yesterday, it had garnered 36,388 signatures out of a target of 50,000 signatures.

Exiled former Ntabazinduna chief Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni also initiated an online petition challenging Mnangagwa's victory in the August election. This petition aims for 1,500 signatures and has already garnered 1,149.

As pressure continues to mount on SADC to address the Zimbabwe crisis, the non-governmental organization Southern African Youth Solidarity Network (SAYSN) has announced its intent to write to the regional body, urging it to convene an extraordinary summit to address the issue of the disputed recent elections in Zimbabwe. SAYSN contends that the recent elections were flawed and that SADC should urgently intervene to resolve the political crisis in the country. The organization has called on SADC to exert pressure on Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law and ensure free and fair elections.

Source - newsday
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