Civic society wants Sadc to act on Zim

HARARE - Zimbabwe civic society wants the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to act on the deteriorating political situation in the country at its next summit in Swaziland, next month.

More than 30 Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) met in Harare yesterday where they announced they will petition Sadc to include Zimbabwe on its agenda to answer charges of gross human rights violations.

The 36th edition of the Heads of State Summit is set to be held in Mbabane, Swaziland from August 15 to 17 where current Sadc chairman Botswana President Ian Khama is set to hand over the chairmanship to King Mswati III.

Delivering a statement signed by the 30 CSOs yesterday, human rights activist and Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) director Jestina Mukoko said Sadc must intervene in the Zimbabwean situation to restore order.

“We, the institutions who are party to this statement, are concerned by deteriorating economic conditions in the country and the violent State response to civilian protests especially in the last few weeks. Since January 2016, the country has witnessed close to 40 civilian led protests,’ said Mukoko.

“These protests have questioned the social, political and economic governance of the country and there has been growing citizen consensus for reform. The calls for reform have been met with State heavy-handedness and the violation of people’s rights. During the current month of July 2016, CSOs have assisted protesters and hundreds of victims of organised violence and torture in Bulawayo, Harare, and Beitbridge.”

Mukoko said the CSOs are also going to push for a probe against the police through the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission over their alleged savage attacks on protesters during recent demonstrations which they helped organise.

Hundreds of protesters were either arrested or seriously injured by police during the protests which occurred in Beitbridge and Harare at the beginning of this month.

Police were accused of using force to break the protests particularly in Epworth and at Burombo Flats, in Harare and Bulawayo, respectively

Mukoko said at least 304 people who were arrested were accused of public violence, 22 for obstructing traffic, 16 were charged for contravening the infamous Public Order and Security Act and one was accused of attempting to overthrow the government.

“The majority of these people were victims of random police brutality during and after public protests held across the country from 1 - 6 July 2016. Many injured people could not seek medical assistance because of the heavy police presence in the high density suburbs.

Reports indicated that uniformed and plain clothes police were involved, as well as youth militia dressed in police uniforms. Between 1 January and 15 July 354 cases of political violence were reported,” Mukoko said.

“In order to have a lasting solution to the current challenges, civil society is of the view that there needs to be: holistic and full implementation of the Constitution, especially as it relates to security sector reform and governance; full restoration of the rule of law; respect for basic rights and freedoms as well as other institutional reforms which in our view are requisites that will

enable Zimbabwe to hold credible elections in 2018.”

Among some of the CSOs demands are a non-partisan public media, a transparent electoral process, a clean voters’ roll and Sadc-monitored elections.

Meanwhile, addressing journalists in Bulawayo yesterday Matabeleland CSOs’ spokesperson Jenny Williams said they have already compiled a report detailing the ugly incidents that occurred during recent protests which will be presented to Sadc at its next summit.

“In the report, we will be detailing the happenings in the last few weeks. We also intend to attend the civil society plenary that would be happening during the session of the Sadc summit. We intend to literally engage Sadc on the subject,” Williams said.

Speaking at the same event, another civic leader, Liberty Bhebhe said they were pushing for Zimbabwe to be placed on the agenda.

“Our biggest hope is to get the Zimbabwe agenda discussed on the Sadc and not to be blocked because what has happened in the past is that our own Zimbabwe president was chairman and Zimbabwean issues were blocked,now we want them back on the table. And that will be a big achievement,” Bhebhe said.

Comments (8)

what deteriorating situation?our tobacco farmers exceeded targets,youths will soon be landlords?civic society groups thrive on crises so as to secure funding thats why they are more than willing to create a cris

truth - 27 July 2016

SADC has nothing to with the Zimbabwean situation. This our problem, w must just force Mugabe to step down.

Mentalist - 27 July 2016

you are not far from the truth cde truth. zimbabwe can solve its own problems without foreign intervention. they have tried it before but all their efforts have been shot down at the un by russia and china. at the sadc summit, zuma etal will veto the petition and maybe mkaradi khama will be the only one to raise the issue to no avail

el chapo - 27 July 2016

Truth YOU ARE HOGWASH.

ZimVendorisedNation - 27 July 2016

Which SADC? Haven't we learned that our destiny is in our own hands. Do you truly believe that a devious thug like Zuma cares about zimbos?

Farai - 27 July 2016

This truth chap is not serious about what he or she says .He or she is just gadging people's temper.Anotoziva chokwadi,but munhu anotonakidzwa nekunzwa hasha dzevanhu,He derives joy from reading your responses and thats the reason why he or she keeps on giving stupid commets.Just ignore this animal called truth.Anotokupedzerai nguva.

Janana wa Bikaz - 28 July 2016

This truth chap is not serious about what he or she says .He or she is just gadging people's temper.Anotoziva chokwadi,but munhu anotonakidzwa nekunzwa hasha dzevanhu,He derives joy from reading your responses and thats the reason why he or she keeps on giving stupid commets.Just ignore this animal called truth.Anotokupedzerai nguva.

Janana wa Bikaz - 28 July 2016

This truth chap is not serious about what he or she says .He or she is just gadging people's temper.Anotoziva chokwadi,but munhu anotonakidzwa nekunzwa hasha dzevanhu,He derives joy from reading your responses and thats the reason why he or she keeps on giving stupid commets.Just ignore this animal called truth.Anotokupedzerai nguva.

Janana wa Bikaz - 28 July 2016

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