Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe coordinator McDonald Lewanika has described the Zimbabwe civil society leaders’ week-long advocacy mission to Tanzania, as a success, saying they managed to meet numerous political players in that country.
The coalition delegation had visited Tanzania, who are represented in Zimbabwe’s Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, to use their participation in the organ to push for reforms which should lead to free and fair polls.
The delegation left the country on Monday last week to engage with leaders in the East African country ahead of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Summit in October in Mozambique.
Tanzania is a member of the Sadc Troika on Politics, Defence and Security and is expected to take over its chairmanship in Maputo when Mozambique assumes the regional bloc’s chair.
In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Lewanika said the trip by the delegation, which included Crisis spokesperson Thabani Nyoni and vice-chairperson Grace Chirenje, was “characterised by successful meetings with the media and civil society”.
“The mission to Tanzania has been very successful,” he said. “The delegation managed to meet with other civil society organisations, including the Media Institute of Southern Africa’s Tanzania chapter.
“We have also managed to meet the opposition leaders there and the opposition MPs, so that they take our request to their parliament.”
Lewanika said the group managed to meet the Media Council of Tanzania, Mwananchi Communications, Independent TV, the Legal and Human Rights Centre and the Tanzania Association of non-governmental organisations, among other civil society organisations in the east African country.
“Although we met people in the president’s office, we were unfortunate not to meet a lot of government officials,” he said.
“We wanted to meet someone from the Foreign Affairs ministry as well. We need to work on conditions rather than timelines. While we can talk about having elections in the first or second quarter of next year, what we need are conditions that will ensure that the results of the elections are not contested.
“The key message for Tanzania and Sadc is for continued support for the timely implementation of a roadmap to credible, non-violent, free and fair elections that includes a new constitution that is subjected to a national referendum as agreed to under the Global Political Agreement.”