The visiting Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) delegation to Botswana has told Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Secretariat, Southern Africa Development Community Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (SADC CNGO) and African Diplomats that SADC still has a role to play in Zimbabwe post the SADC facilitated Inclusive Government.
Thokozile Matshe who is a member of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition South African Board raised concerns on the tightening of immigration laws by South African and Botswana governments and also urged SADC to be fully applied in the reconstruction and re-building phase of Zimbabwe.
(CiZC Delegation at the SADC headquaters)
“SADC in general and its stance that things have normalized is missing a critical step. The fact that they understood before that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe and played a key role helping to manage the crisis during the inclusive Government tenures calls for their need to see Zimbabwe through the reconstruction and re-building phase again”
“Now SADC is saying that things have normalised after a flawed election in Zimbabwe. If SADC understood that there was a crisis before it should therefore play a critical role in the re-construction and building phase”
“For countries like South Africa to be now involved in a not formalised mass kicking out of people is misplaced. Where are they pushing these people to when the re-construction and building phase in Zimbabwe hasn’t started,” said Matshe.
In July 2013, SADC together with the African Union endorsed the flawed Zimbabwe election which saw ZANU PF assuming power to lead the nation for the next five years. SADC has since conveyed the message that they are now committed to ensuring economic development in Zimbabwe.
“The general message is that SADC is no longer occupied with political matters but with economic matters in Zimbabwe”
“Our concern is that since SADC has been fully involved in addressing the crisis in Zimbabwe and there is no clear message to how the economic cooperation and integration of Zimbabwe among SADC countries will be addressed. There is also no clear action plan or framework on how this is going to be rolled out to ensure that Zimbabwe will not relapse back to the undesirable state of affairs seen before,” said Mehluli Dube, the Director of Artists for Democracy Trust and CiZC chairperson of the Arts and Culture Committee.
Tabani Moyo from the Media Institute for Southern Africa –Zimbabwe (MISA-Zimbabwe) who is also CiZC chairperson for Information Committee impressed upon the need for SADC to remain engaged and not to miss the window of opportunity in locating the main problem causing the re-emergence of an economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
“SADC intervention during the reconstruction phase is critical and they should not wait until Zimbabwe reaches a boiling point for them to intervene when things get out of control in Zimbabwe”.
“It is a case of doctors diagnosing a patient and then later leaves the therapy process in the hands of the patient”
“There is no mechanism whatsoever to offer support to the Zimbabwe situation. When the feuding political parties entered the Inclusive Government in 2009 there were a lot of promises from SADC including South Africa promising agricultural inputs and other countries promising power supply among other things”
“The key challenge is to redefine the broad terms of dialogue in solving the looming economic crisis in Zimbabwe. What are the standards of engagement; we are going to be using in terms of outlining key areas that need attention. For example issues of infrastructure development and power generation,” said Moyo
CiZC Vice Chairperson Samukheliso Khumalo also told the meeting that as civil society in Zimbabwe there were concerned by the reluctance by the Zimbabwe government to implement key reforms which were raised in the AU and SADC election observer missions’ reports.
“We are also worried by the death of democracy in the SADC region. We had our flawed elections and Malawi this year again was a kind of duplication. We are wondering what the role of the SADC regional bloc”
”We have a case where SADC and the African Union made clear recommendations after the elections in Zimbabwe last year but with no follow up mechanism whatsoever, and this is problematic” concluded Khumalo.