SADC Must Push for Inclusive Dialogue in Zimbabwe

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, an umbrella body of civil society organisations operating in Zimbabwe, has noted pronouncements by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to the effect that Zimbabwe and the SADC region are committed to “meaningful and constructive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders with a view to consolidate the rule of law, democracy, governance and human rights”.

The pronouncement by SADC dovetails with our long held position that a genuine all stakeholders dialogue is the panacea to unlocking the multi faceted crisis in Zimbabwe.

Since the disputed 2018 elections, we have noted with great concern the cosmetic approaches towards national dialogue in Zimbabwe especially through the much-discredited Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD) platform.

The continued shrinking of the democratic space, weaponization of the judiciary, criminalization of civil society work, militarization of key state institutions, clampdown on the opposition, a constitutional crisis, entrenchment of authoritarian rule through constitutional amendments, corruption and plunder of national resources by political elites among other vices are issues of major concern to Zimbabweans.

We also note with great concern that political elites continue to use the sanctions mantra to cover up for corruption and looting of national resources- major contributing factors to Zimbabwe’s economic crisis.

The legitimacy crisis on the part of the ruling party lingers on due to the gross nature of electoral irregularities in Zimbabwe. Pronouncements by senior ruling party officials that the army stands ready to block opposition rule in Zimbabwe are worrying especially given the role played by the military when six civilians were shot in cold blood while protesting against electoral theft in August 2018.

The role of citizens in governance has been relegated to praise singers, way beyond the contemporary norms of inclusive governance.

Given the above submissions, we implore SADC to facilitate a genuine all stakeholders’ dialogue that will restore democracy, respect for human rights and enhance transparency and accountability in Zimbabwe.

In September (2021), we made a call to SADC (through a letter to SADC Chairperson, H.E Lazarus Chakwera) and reiterated our calls for the regional bloc to facilitate dialogue in light of the continued multi faceted crisis in Zimbabwe. As the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition we have also engaged revolutionary parties from the SADC region to intervene in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis.

We maintain that Zimbabwe’s recovery efforts and re-engagement with the international community must be based on consolidation of the rule of law, democracy, governance and human rights.

Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition

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