'Sadc, an elitist club'

BULAWAYO - A civil society organisation meeting in Bulawayo under the Sadc People’s Summit banner has described the regional leaders’ bloc as an elitist club pre-occupied with maintaining power at the expense of addressing poverty, unemployment and deep inequalities in their countries.

These sentiments were aired during a two-day people’s summit that was officially opened by deputy minister of foreign affairs ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa on Friday.

The conference which ran under the theme: Reclaiming Sadc for Peoples Development-Sadc Resources for Sadc People also saw delegates marching from the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds to the Large City Hall where solidarity speeches  were read out.

In a communiqué which is set to be submitted to the Sadc heads of State secretariat today in Victoria Falls, the regional civil society members said they were deeply concerned by various issues impeding development in the southern African countries.

“We are deeply concerned by key issues relating to the state of human rights and democracy in particular elections, rule of law, peace and security which are likely to be side-lined at the summit of Sadc heads of State and Government scheduled for August 17 and 18 in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe although they remain important issues in the region,” read the communiqué.

The communiqué further stated that weak natural resource governance, aided and abetted by corporate excesses impacted negatively on the promotion and protection of human rights and that communities were not benefitting from them.

It was also noted that the Sadc Tribunal remains suspended by depriving citizens an avenue for redress outside country jurisdictions.

“Legitimate Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) activities are being hampered and stifled and therefore disenfranchising citizens especially through calculated introduction of repressive laws targeting NGOs,” read the communiqué.

Faced with all these challenges, the gathering came up with recommendations to the problems bedevilling the region.

“An immediate robust, active and non-selective approach towards resolving member States disputes based on principles and well laid out Sadc protocols. While we acknowledge the assumption of Zimbabwe for the Sadc chairmanship, we remain deeply concerned with continued land invasions and internal displacements of Zimbabwe by the elites for self-aggrandisement and resource plundering,” read the communiqué.

Delegates also called for the immediate suspension of Swaziland from Sadc until there is restoration of democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law as well as enabling citizens’ “participation in promoting peace and security in the region”.

The summit also pushed for the review of Sadc Principles and Guidelines on the Conduct of Democratic Elections to enhance democracy and compliance by member States as well as the creation of a people centred approach towards development based on social and economic rights.

Comments (8)

Who still believes in SADC-a bunch of thieves who thrive on draconian, repressive laws against fellow blacks? We will forever remain a white man's laughing stock.

DONGAWATONGA - 18 August 2014

Marches are not a problem..even when the G8 sits,they are demonstrations all over the City where the is taking place...I AM NOT SURPRISED TO SEE THIS IN ZIMBABWE.........

silungisani ndlovu - 18 August 2014

If there is anyone really concerned about knowing the driving force behind the civil society organization meeting in Bulawayo, they should go nowhere further than unraveling who actually funded the Sadc People's Summit!

Anotida - 18 August 2014

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