REGIONAL civil society groups have pledged to assist their Zimbabwean counterparts in pushing Zimbabwe’s troubled human rights record back on the international agenda in the face of the worsening political and economic situation in the country.
By Sofia Mapuranga
The resolution was passed at a recent Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) national conference held in Harare and organised by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC).
“The Zimbabwean problem requires an African solution and local CSOs cannot lobby and advocate in isolation,” Sipho Theys, a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition South African chapter board member, who is also a member of Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum, said (ZSF).
ZSF is a network of South African CSOs that include youth, women, labour, faith-based, human rights and student formations in the Southern African country and across the region.
“Local CSOs should increase their visibility and ensure that their efforts are well co-ordinated,” Theys said.
He said there was need to form a strategy to lobby international and regional bodies such as the Sadc, the African Union, European Union and the United Nations, among others.
“Regional integration is important as it means that we will be lobbying our governments in our respective countries at a national level before they are at regional or international forums,” Theys said, adding that this would increase the chances of getting Zimbabwe back on the regional agenda.
CiZC information and advocacy co-ordinator, Joy Mabenge acknowledged the importance of a strong regional solidarity movement in resolving the country’s social, economic and political crisis.
“CSOs need to upgrade their activities in reclaiming citizens’ space, voice and social, political and economic rights so as to lay a firm base upon which to gain regional solidarity,” he said.
Global Zimbabwe Forum international co-ordinator, Daniel Molokele said there was need for CSOs to capitalise on the expertise of Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
“Zimbabweans in the Diaspora are not a loss, but an opportunity because the majority of them are a classic example of forced migration. CSOs should, however, mobilise for technological and financial support from these people, the majority of whom are in good strategic positions,” he said.