International human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) has dispatched a group of Zimbabwean researchers to South Africa ahead of the crucial weekend extraordinary summit of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) to lobby key embassies and diplomats of the regional bloc to condemn ongoing human rights violations in the country.
The team has been in South Africa since Monday.
“The team will be lobbying key Sadc embassies and diplomats as well as South African officials to ensure they do not backtrack on their unprecedented acknowledgment of serious human rights violations in Zimbabwe,” said AI in a statement released early this week.
It added that its team would “demand that Sadc continue to speak out publicly against ongoing human rights violations in Zimbabwe” as they did in the communiqué issued after the March 31 summit in Livingstone, Zambia.
The organisation said the team would also be calling on Sadc to
“. . . pressure the Zimbabwean authorities to end arbitrary arrests, harassment and intimidation of human rights activists, ensure that Zimbabwe’s airwaves are opened up including by licensing community radio stations to allow a greater flow of information and increased freedom of expression”.
AI said it would also ask Sadc to ensure that there was an end to “ partisan law enforcement and ensure depoliticisation of Zimbabwe’s security forces and to respond rapidly to ongoing human rights violations that threaten the credibility of the election process”.
On Tuesday, Zanu PF dispatched a high-powered delegation to also lobby regional leaders and launch its propaganda against its political nemesis back home.
The delegation comprised Jonathan Moyo, Tafataona Mahoso, Vimbai Chivaura and former ambassador to China Chris Mutsvangwa.
In response, several Zimbabwean civil society organisations trekked across the Limpopo on a mission to counter Zanu PF’s propaganda blitz.