Do, Says Mavhinga
While Zimbabwean civil society organisations are in Maputo to lobby SADC leaders as part of the Southern African People's Solidarity Network (SAPSN), a UK-based MDC activist, Jonathan Chawora, has said Zimbabweans should not put too much faith in SADC.
The civil society activists have said they fear that Zimbabwe may be forced to go for national elections under the old constitution and under conditions of wide-spread violence similar to that experienced in 2008, unless SADC makes it clear to President Mugabe's Zanu (PF) that this will not be acceptable.
But Chawora said SADC had shown very little inclination to confront the Mugabe regime to implement SADC resolutions which it has flatly refused to implement, like the ones on creating a peaceful and impartial environment security environment for parties to campaign, or to allow other parties to get positive coverage in the national media.
He said there was very little that SADC could do if Mugabe decided that he did not want to go for a free and fair election, which now seems is the case.
"All signs have been there that Zanu (PF) was merely buying time. Now their coffers a full with unaccountable diamonds proceeds; they still control the the military and the intelligence and the voter's rolls, and the economy is not about to collapse, so why would they give in and go into an election which they are not sure they can win," asked Chawora.
And to stress his point he said abductions had started increasing againt in Zimbabwe, including a van which disappeared into a military base in Mutare with all its occupants and has not been seen for a weak.
"Where was SADC when Zanu (PF) forced the MDC to accept an agreement which disadvantaged them; and where were they when even after signing the agreement, Mugabe went on to appoint more ministers than were provided for in the Constitution?
And where has SADC been over the last three years while Zanu (PF) was dragging out to three years constitutional negotiations which should have taken about six months?
"Now Zanu (PF) is changing the rules for the Constitution-making, and SADC is still there and saying, let Mugabe do whatever he wants. It will take a very serious statement in Maputo to convince me otherwise," he said.
The ever-optimistic civic activist, Dewa Mavhinga, however said it was not possible for SADC to let down the Zimbabwean people who have put all their hopes in its GNU process and are counting on SADC to deliver.
"Zimbabwe is very fragile. In fact the whole region is because it is the poorest region in the world, so SADC would want to avoid any instablity in the region, as it would quickly spread to the other countries, "said Mavhinga.
His organisation which believes in peaceful change urged SADC leaders to send observers and monitors to superintend the referendum and the by-elections, in the event that they are held as per the Supreme Court ruling of 16 July 2012 which ordered President Mugabe to announce by-elections in three constituencies before August 30.
The CSOs also demanded that Sadc-appointed representatives to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) be urgently deployed to monitor the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and that president Zuma’s Facilitation Team show some seriousness by frequently travel to Zimbabwe to closely monitor and encourage progress towards transparent, free and fair elections.
"We urge SADC to intensify efforts to ensure that Zimbabwe adequately prepare for credible elections that are free from both physical and psychological violence and one where the electoral management body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is independent, non-partisan and professional," they said in their statement distributed in Maputo.
It remains to be seen whether SADC will live up to its resolutions.
They also urged SADC to ensure that the electoral process allows for peaceful transfer of power to whoever wins elections, and this should all be done now though agreements, rather than trying to manage a crisis after the fact.
The state and society remain too militaraised, which poses a risk of stagnation or reversal of all transitional and democratisation efforts made by SADC.
Civil society therefore urged SADC leaders to insist on the democratization and professionalisation of the security establishment so that it can prioritize the security of the person rather than of the regime; the state removing the military out of society and confine them to the barracks; and security chiefs renouncing and denouncing their partisan statements that they will not respect a leader elected by Zimbabweans in a free and fair election if that leader did not have liberation war credentials.
For the legislative reform agenda we recommend that the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Broadcasting Services Act, the Presidential Powers Temporary Measures Act and the Criminal Codification and Reform Act, among other repressive laws, be expeditiously repealed or amended.
CSOs also noted that one of Zimbabwe’s major socio-economic challenges was that financial proceeds from diamonds were not reaching government coffers and now no sustainable economic development that impacts on the livelihoods of ordinary people was taking place.
"We therefore call for sound, transparent and accountable corporate governance so that the natural resources can benefit the ordinary people," they said.