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SADC must act on the Zimbabwean crisis

by Jacob Mafume
27 Mar 2017 at 11:17hrs | Views
The People's Democratic Party urges SADC to act on the concerns of the Zimbabwean people instead of adopting the current passive by-standing approach.

A crisis has been brewing in Zimbabwe for a long time now, our party urges the regional board to exercise the powers vested on them by the membership to protect the rights of the people in member states.

The power of a regional board need no further preface, the efficacy was proved by the response of ECOWAS in the Gambian crisis. ECOWAS ‘pressure on JAMMEH forced the dictator to finally heed the will of the people by stepping down after losing an election.

The bold decision to ACT by ECOWAS brought about a lasting solution to the impasse allowing the people of Gambia to open a new chapter into the future of their country. The People's Democratic Party expects nothing less than that on the Zimbabwean crisis.

In August of 2014 we wrote a full dossier and submitted it to a number of SADC heads of states who were attending a summit in Victoria Falls. Some meetings were held on the sidelines of the summit between officials from different foreign affairs ministries and our Secretary of International Relations Willias Madzimure.

We made the point as we still make now that "that failure to act now will result in the unpalatable suffering of the Zimbabwean people and the temptation by others to resort to unlawful and unconstitutional means of redress.

As was the case then the economic crisis continues unabated, deindustrialisation is the new norm, job losses have been shockingly high, state revenues are dwindling, the government is running a budget deficit of more than 42% mainly financed through toxic treasury bills and a crippling cash crisis has left many Zimbabweans spending more of their time on banks.

There is also a social crisis with the public health and education systems deteriorating. Hopes of social service delivery continue to be a pipe dream with the state showing no concern at all to address the issues.

A moral crisis has also developed as a result of the socio-economic crisis, there is a dysfunctional society characterized by moral debasement manifesting itself through a society arrested by fear, hopelessness and despondence. There is a total breakdown of the social contract, chronic levels of corruption and inequality. Cases of domestic violence, general rape, and breakdown of marriages are on a record high. At the present moment, Zimbabwe is a nation without a soul.
It is our humble view that Zimbabwe requires urgent intervention by SADC and the AU. It is clear that the Zimbabwean leadership in its current form cannot provide the lasting solution to the crisis.

The points we note above are a result of a crisis of legitimacy owing to a nation governed by people who stole an election therefore have no duty to account to the Zimbabweans.

The only way Zimbabweans can redress the legitimacy crisis is through a free and fair election, at the present moment the underlying assumptions for a credible plebiscite are not present.

In our 2014 dossier we raised the following irregularities pertaining to the 2013 election most of which are still visibly the same in fact new problems are emerging in addition.
  1. Failure to provide an electronic voters roll in clear breach of section 21 of the Electoral Act.
  2. Uneven access to the media especially by opposition political parties
  3. Militarization of the election highlighted the role of the uniformed forces in the process.
  4. Use of voter slips which allowed persons not registered on the voters roll to vote.
  5. The absence of indelible ink which allowed multiple voting of the same individuals
  6. Lack of transparency in the number of ballot papers printed and the distribution thereof.
  7. Chaotic state of special voting of 15h and the 16th of July involving the uniformed forces.
  8. The involvement of the Israeli company known as Nikuv in the process
  9. Unprecedented number of assisted voters who suddenly became illiterate.
  10. The hurried manner of the election contrary to the spirit and understanding of the old constitution, the GPA and the roadmap.
We therefore urge Zimbabweans, especially the democratic contingent to collectively lobby SADC to give a fresh mandate to the Troika to attend to the Zimbabwean crisis.

The unity shown at home in confronting ZEC if replicated in the diplomatic front results will come. We restate our position that the current battle is like a boxing match Zimbabweans must keep punching, one of the punches might prove fatal.

Our hope is that SADC heeds our call, reluctance might result in the crisis spreading and destabilizing the whole region. Part of the problem has already started manifesting in the xenophobic attacks on Zimbabwean nationals in neighboring South Africa.

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Source - Jacob Mafume PDP Spokesperson
More on: #SADC, #ECOWAS, #GPA