Zimbabwe Civil Society Delegation Meets Zambian Justice Minister and Secretary General of Patriotic Front

A Zimbabwe Civil Society delegation of 6, coordinated by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is currently engaged in a regional advocacy mission with senior government officials and key Civil Society activists in Zambia. The mission, which started today, Monday the 12th of November 2012, is meant to engage and update these key players on the political, economic and social developments in the country with a goal to soliciting broad Zambian support for peaceful, free and fair election consistent with democratic transitions in Zimbabwe.


Speaking to the Zimbabwe civil society delegation at his government offices in Lusaka, Zambian Minister of Justice and Secretary General of the ruling Patriotic Front, Honourable Wynter Kabimba who was accompanied by the Permanent Secretary of his ministry, said that Zimbabwe as a country could learn from Zambia in terms of political and economic processes, as they relate to the handling of fragile political transitions.


In an honest and objective assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe, Hon Kabimba held that Zambia as a country would like to see a "peaceful Zimbabwe that becomes a stable economic powerhouse, contributing to the development of the region €.   In that regard, he stated, there were lessons that could be learnt by Zimbabwe from Zambia in terms of a peaceful transition from one party to another and the holding of free and fair elections.   The Minister assured the delegation from Zimbabwe that Zambia was 'committed to the best of its ability, to make sure that the coming elections in Zimbabwe are peaceful, and will represent the aspirations and free expressions of the people of Zimbabwe'.


Hon Kabimba also added that Zimbabwe needed to institute transitional justice mechanisms that address the fears of all concerned parties - the incumbents, victims and perpetrators.   In his opinion, the fear of persecution after a peaceful and successful transition, especially coming against the precedence that has been set in Africa is the major inhibition to a peaceful transition. Hon Kabimba cited examples of the Charles Taylor (former Liberian President who was sentednced to 50 years in prison by the ICC for aiding and abetting the atrocities in Sierra Leone) Case and the case of Al Bashir (Sudanese President who has a warrant from the International Criminal Court hounting him for crimes against Humanity in Dafur and South Sudan).


On the subject of institutional reform, specifically security sector reform, the Minister stated that prior to their election, there was a wide perception that the Police, Electoral Commission and other security agencies were all partisan. Their strategy, he said was to go with the message of reform to the people. 'A fish cannot empty its pond', he said, and suggested that those seeking reform in Zimbabwe, had an added obligation to take their concerns to where it matters most, the people.


Minister Kabimba also impressed on the delegation, that there was sponored and wide perception that civil society organisations in Zimbabwe "are championing interests of powerful western nations €. He urged Zimbabwean and Regional Civil Society Actors to tirelessly work on debunking the notion and perception, by acting in a manner that builds confidence, and an image of real champions for the causes of African people,

'You have to fight this perception, and fight for the national agenda of our people',

emphasised Kabimba. The Minister also praised the initiative of the Zimbabwe Civil society delegation of engaging African governments, and said that it assists in breaking down perceived barriers and opens up lines of communication.


Zambia, has been a traditional ally of the Zimbabwean people from the days of the liberation struggle, and currently occupies a seat in the critical SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defense and Security cooporation, and has seconded an official to work with JOMIC as reccomended by the Namibia SADC summit of 2011.

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