Citizens to petition Sadc over democracy

MILLIONS of African immigrants in South Africa’s Gauteng province have threatened to organise a march against their respective governments’ “undemocratic tendencies”.

By KHANYILE MLOTSHWA

The march, according to organisers, will be held in Pretoria on Saturday to coincide with the 37th Sadc ordinary summit, where the protesters will petition Sadc heads of State and government to rein in their autocratic neighbours.

Zimbabwe Communist Party (ZCP) secretary-general, Ngqabutho Mabhena, one of the protest organisers, said: “The objective of the march is to raise alarm on the undemocratic tendencies in the Sadc region. We have organised comrades from the region to be part of the march.”

South Africa is hosting the 37th Sadc ordinary summit ending on August 20.

The summit is running under the theme Partnering With the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains.

Mabhena said the Congress of South African Trade Unions secretary-general, Bheki Ntshalintshali will present the petition to the heads of States.

“Zapu and the Young Communist League of South Africa will also take a leading role on the day,” he said.

“Representatives from ZCP, Pudemo, South African Communist Party, Swaziland Solidarity Network, the Economic Freedom Front, National Health Education and Allied Workers’ Union, #Tajamuka/Sesijikisile, Lesotho Communist Party, African Diaspora Forum and many other organisations will give messages of support on the day.”

There has been rising concern over the lack of democracy in most Sadc countries, particularly in the (DRC), Zimbabwe and Zambia.

DRC President Joseph Kabila, last year postponed elections allowing himself to hold on to the leadership of the country beyond what the Constitution permits.

In Zimbabwe, opposition parties and the civil society are fighting against President Robert Mugabe’s refusal to implement electoral reforms that will level the political playing field ahead of next year’s general elections.

In Zambia, an opposition leader has been arrested and taken to court on what democratic forces in the region believe are false charges.

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