- Last Updated on 03 October 2012
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4 Zimbabwean Civil Society Organisations recently undertook a 12-day Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN) facilitated advocacy mission to 3 European Countries. The delegation, was comprised of Gideon Shoko from ZCTU, Memory Kadau from Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Susan Mutambasere from the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and Machinda Marongwe from NANGO. The mission, which saw the delegation visiting Germany, Norway and Belgium, was characterised by a series of successful meetings with Foreign Ministries, Local Councils, Media houses, and European Civic Society Organisations with an interest in Zimbabwe (in the 3 Countries), as well as the European Union Commission and the European External Action Service.
Participants at the various meetings prayed for strength to the Zimbabwean CSOs in terms of the critical work they were doing, and praised and encouraged the efforts to build a critical mass in Zimbabwe equipped with knowledge on their rights to demand accountability from the government, as well as their responsibilities as citizens where critical democratic processes are concerned.
The delegation's key asks to their European Counterparts, the European Community and its member states were largely around continued solidarity and support for work aimed at democratising the country, as well as calls for political and diplomatic pressure on the Zimbabwean state through the renewed Europe-Zimbabwe Dialogue for the timeous and full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the Roadmap to credible, non-violent, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, including a new constitution that is subjected to a national referendum.
The delegation which was candid in its judgement on the short falls of the GPA, 4 years down the line, also shared concerns around the Extractive Industry in Zimbabwe, especially the diamond mining situation, which among other issues, they alleged is controlled by the military. This issue was especially articulated in meetings with the Belgium Foreign ministry of affairs on foreign trade and development cooperation. This was especially so given the fact that Belgium itself is one of the worlds major centres in terms of trade in Diamonds, as well as the key role that the country plays in the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme. The Belgian Authorities affirmed that they had working relationships with both the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Mines, but hinted concern on the amount of information available to stakeholders in Zimbabwe on developments around the mining of Diamonds, and also to external stakeholders through the Kimberley Process Monitoring Group.
Key Issues that the delegation consistently hammered on included:
- Challenges around the slow pace of reforms ahead of elections suggested for early 2013
The absence of a salubrious environment for the conduct of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, largely resulting from militarisation of political and democratic processes, the failure to destroy the infrastructure of violence, the continued existence of impunity for perpetrators of politically motivated violence, and the dangers of the blurred accountability mechanisms on diamond extraction given the perception that the military was in charge in the diamond fields.
- The absence of mechanisms by the state to ensure that it honours its obligations to protect citizens, especially during the elections.