BOTSWANA -- Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) deployed a seven member delegation to Gaborone, Botswana from Monday 14 to Thursday 17 July 2014 which engaged civil society, government officials, development partners and solidarity partners, and updated them on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe post July 31 poll and ahead of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit to be held in Zimbabwe in August 2014.
The delegation was comprised of Joy Mabenge (CiZC Acting Head of Secretariat), Memory Kadau (CiZC Advocacy and Networking Officer), Samukheliso Khumalo (CiZC Vice-Chairperson), Thokozile Matshe (CiZC board member), Tabani Moyo (CiZC-Chair Information Committee), Mehluli Dube (CiZC- Chair Arts and Culture) and Lizwe Jamela (CiZC – Human Rights Committee member).
(CiZC Delegation at the SADC Headquarters)
Acting Coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Joy Mabenge told civil society and development partners that their mission was to appraise the key audience on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe and to extend Zimbabwe’s civil society appreciation to the people and instituions in Botswana for continuing to support the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle for an open and democratic society.
“We are here because we strongly feel that not only the government of Botswana but the people of Botswana have remained resolutely engaged on the Zimbabwean issue and also we don’t want to lose the strong solidarity linkages that we have built and mutually enjoyed over the years,” said Mabenge.
“As much as SADC feel that the Zimbabwean crisis has been resolved we are beginning to see the re-emergence of crisis situation in Zimbabwe.
“The first and apparent one being the economic crisis and it has the capacity to trigger many crises either humanitarian or political”
“We appreciate the voice of the Botswana government in expressing their dissatisfaction with SADC for failing to abide by their own protocols after Zimbabwe’s July 31 2013 election”
“We take this opportunity not only to continue to push for electoral democracy in Zimbabwe but also in the SADC region”
“Therefore our key asks to the key stakeholders here in Botswana is to remain alert and aware of the situation unfolding in Zimbabwe before its spirals out of control,” said Mabenge.
The visiting delegation also managed to meet Zimbabweans staying in Botswana, development partners, African diplomats, Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Secretariat and Southern Africa Development Community Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (SADC CNGO).
Botswana renowned civil society leader and rights activist has pledged support and said that they will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe until their aspirations for a democratic nation are realised.
DITSHWANELO (The Botswana Centre for Human Rights) Executive Director, Alice Mogwe told a representative delegation of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) on Monday, 14 July 2014 that her organisation was still committed to working with Zimbabweans.
Ms Mogwe whose organisation coordinates the Botswana Civil Society Solidarity Coalition for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ); comprised of several civil society organisations in Botswana working on Zimbabwean issues told the visiting delegation that the Coalition was born out of the need to assist Zimbabweans and fellow solidarity partners in their time of need.
Joy Mabenge, Acting Coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) commended the work of DITSHWANELO and BOCISCOZ and expressed appreciation of the long standing solidarity they have offered over the years. Mabenge also updated the representative of BOCISCOZ on the state of affairs in Zimbabwe post 31 July 2013 elections.
“At a time when Zimbabwe had few friends and wanted support the Botswana government and its people remained resolute in support of the people of Zimbabwe”
“Almost a year after the poll that ended the life of the Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe (IGoZ) we begin to witness the emergence of an economic crisis which will obviously trigger other crisis in Zimbabwe”
Director of DITSHWANELO, Mogwe added that as an organisation working closely with Zimbabweans in Botswana and civil society in Zimbabwe they were well aware that the Zimbabwe question was not fully resolved by elections held last year.
“As DISTHWANELO we keep raising the flag that issues in Zimbabwe are not fully resolved and it is our responsibility to render solidarity”
“We provide platforms for Zimbabweans in Botswana to speak out freely on challenges they are facing among them sexual exploitation of young women, xenophobia, discrimination and poverty.
“Currently we are dealing with a case of a young Zimbabwe man named Gift who worked for Batswana people at a farm. Gift was shot in both arms and later amputated following a dispute on remuneration with his employer”
“We managed to raise awareness on Gift’s case and appealed successfully against his deportation to Zimbabwe by the Botswana Government because he was undocumented. We are currently fundraising for him to get prosthetic arms so that he can be able to work and earn a living”
“The level and breath of the work that we are doing is not only at the level of engaging wielders of power and influence but also we work closely with the people from all walks of life who have migrated from Zimbabwe owing to social, economic and political reasons”
“Our work on and with Zimbabweans has manifested in many different ways,” said Mogwe.
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.
Harare -- Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson, Mfundo Mlilo met media practitioners at an interface forum held at the Quill Club, Ambassador Hotel, in Harare on Wednesday, June 2014.
The CiZC spokesperson, who is also the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO succeeded the Bulawayo Agenda (BA) Director, Thabani Nyoni, at the organization’s elective Biennial General Meeting in December 2013, was having such an interface with media for the first time.
The discussion held under the theme: On Year on: Is post-election Zimbabwe out of the woods?, was meant to highlight the position of the Coalition on four key topics: the forthcoming Southern African Development Community (SADC) 34th Summit to be held in Zimbabwe in August 2014; implementation of the new Constitution; the economy; and reengagement efforts between Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU).
The interface forum was also aimed at fostering an engaging relationship between the Coalition and the media. The meeting, which saw a lively discussion of the four topical issues, was also attended by members of the civil society.
Harare -- THE forthcoming 34th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit to be held in Zimbabwe in August, where President Robert Mugabe will assume the bloc’s chairmanship should inspire the country’s leadership to be exemplary where good governance is concerned, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson Mfundo Mlilo has said.
Mlilo, who was speaking to media at the Quill Club in Harare on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, asked President Mugabe, whose electoral victory last year came in a flawed poll that fell short of meeting the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic elections, to lead by example in adhering to democratic standards and set the tone for poverty alleviation and development in the region.
“We make a call as Crisis Coalition that President Mugabe must lead by example,” said Mlilo.
“In Malawi, there was a problem with elections. There are questions and concerns around the democraticness of the SADC region.”
Mlilo said Zimbabwe was still beset by unique challenges after the last elections which were supposed to be addressed through the SADC’s roadmap to elections which was resisted by President Mugabe during the tenure of the Inclusive Government, and the coming Summit and undertaking of the chairmanship by the Zimbabwean leader was an opportunity to highlight these problems and the danger they pose to the region peace and stability.
The government of Zimbabwe has been making indications that it would use the opportunity to sell its empowerment programs, some of which are locally blamed for the collapse of agricultural productivity and lack of investment, to the regional countries.
Mlilo warned that there was a danger that the social crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe could be exported to the region.
“There are over 70 million people in SADC that are living in poverty, when we look at the situation in Zimbabwe, there is a danger that the social crisis that we see in Zimbabwe can be exported to other countries,” said Mlilo.
“We have seen Zimbabweans going to South Africa and Botswana … we have seen these two countries imposing strict immigration laws restricting Zimbabweans because there is tacit admission that there is a problem in Zimbabwe.
“So the chairmanship of President Mugabe poses a threat that the social crisis that we see in Zimbabwe can be exported to the SADC region.”
Some of the priority areas for the SADC region identified by the SADC Council of Ministers in March include food security and consolidation of democratic practices issues which the Zimbabwean leader has been failing on over the past decade.
Harare -- CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson, Mfundo Mlilo has dismissed the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation (ZimAsset) economic blueprint by the Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu Pf) government as a mere slogan stating that corruption and lack of funds hamper its success.
Mlilo was speaking at an interface forum organized by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition where he engaged the media at Quill Club at the Ambassador Hotel in Harare on July 16, 2014.
“Regarding the economy, I cannot lecture you on something that you already know.
“Our position is that ZimAsset is a slogan,” he said.
The spokesperson further said the ZimAsset policy would fail as government would not be able to infuse any life into it as it had no money and corruption had become the order of the day in Zimbabwe.
“ZimAsset requires a US$ 27 billion funding,” he said.
“We know that the cancer of corruption has permeated every facet of life in Zimbabwe.
“How will government give life to ZimAsset when there is virtually no money because without money government cannot do anything?”
Mlilo also expressed regret over the rising level of unemployment in the country.
“It is worrying. ZCTU [Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions] pointed out that there are over ten companies that are closing per week.
“It means that thousands of employees are being chased out of work and that’s more unemployment,” he said.
The spokesperson also warned that as Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, they were going to take up their demands with the government and SADC to prove that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe.
“We are raising a red flag not only to the government of Zimbabwe but also to SADC to say there is indeed an emerging crisis in this country,” he said.
Mlilo further contended that apart from an economic crisis, Zimbabwe was also experiencing a crippling service delivery manifested for example, by water shortage woes which government had since failed to address.
“In Mabvuku today there are about 4000 cases of diarrhea and the city of Harare does not have any mechanism to combat that outbreak.
“Water shortages remain a huge problem and that on it’s on is a crisis that government is failing to address,” Mlilo said.