The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) says it is perplexed by the deafening silence of SADC and its member states despite the continuing oppression and violence being perpetrated against opposition activists, government critics and media personnel by the Zanu-PF regime in Zimbabwe.
The party feels the silence of SADC and its member states on the situation in Zimbabwe is very concerning.
PDM secretary general Manuel Ngaringombe says while the United Nations, the African Union Commission chairman and a number of human rights groups have come out strongly in condemning the brutality perpetrated by the Zanu-PF regime on the Zimbabwean people, SADC has remained mum on the issue, and it has gone as far as defending the brutality of the Zanu-PF regime.
“In so doing, SADC has directly betrayed one of its core founding principles, which obligates SADC member states to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the human rights of everyone,” he said in a statement.
“To demonstrate just how insignificant the Zimbabwe matter is to SADC, Zimbabwe was not even featured on the agenda at the 40th SADC Summit, which was held virtually in early August 2020. This was while authorities in Zimbabwe have intensified their brutal crackdown on opposition activists, government critics and media personnel.”
The party maintained the inaction of SADC and its member states on the situation in Zimbabwe does nothing but fuel an already hostile situation that may lead to catastrophic consequences for the whole region.
Ngaringombe said the state-sponsored violence in Zimbabwe could lead to serious civil unrest that may cause a humanitarian crisis of grave consequences for the whole region.
“All SADC member states will feel the brunt of such a humanitarian crisis. The inaction of SADC in Zimbabwe has also led to a worrying trend where we see that more SADC member states are experiencing issues of human rights violations and abuses,” he stressed.
Amnesty International has recently reported there has also been an intensified crackdown on opposition activists, media personnel and critics of government in Eswatini and Madagascar. This, he says, is directly attributed to the fact that the government knows SADC does not take serious, tangible action against its member states accused of gross human rights violations against their people, especially those in the opposition and media.
“SADC has betrayed the people of Southern Africa and has surely lost its mandate and purpose as a credible regional body that must serve and protect the interest of the people of Southern Africa. If SADC wants to restore its mandate and trust from the people of Southern Africa, it has to start demonstrating that it respects its core founding principles which speak to the protection of fundamental human rights and the protection of human life and dignity.”
PDM urged SADC to take strong, decisive action against the Zimbabwean government, while calling member states in their capacity to lead the front and call out Zanu-PF for the atrocities it has been inflicting on the Zimbabwean people.
PDM said President Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom they label as the orchestrator of the Zanu-PF sanctioned violence against the Zimbabwean people, ought to have been removed as the chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation (Troika).
“Mnangagwa heading this organ represented a slap to the face of those who are victims of the Zanu-PF sponsored oppression in Zimbabwe. SADC Troika is an organ meant to facilitate peace, co-operation and mutual coexistence within the SADC region. Emmerson Mnangagwa or any other Zanu-PF official are morally conflicted and must not be allowed to head Troika,” Ngarangombe said. - firstname.lastname@example.org