By NQOBANI NDLOVU
SOUTH African civic society groups, under the banner of the Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), have accused Sadc of glossing over the human rights’ violations in Zimbabwe.
SAPSN called on the regional bloc to appoint a fact-finding mission to nudge President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to adhere to constitutionalism.
Sadc, through its chairperson Namibian President Hage Geingob, last week blamed civic society organisations (CSOs) of working with external forces to hijack the January fuel protests and ostensibly destabilise the country.
This is at a time when Mnangagwa has been put under the spotlight for rights abuses following an army crackdown on alleged protesters.
South African opposition Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane even threatened to drag Mnangagwa to the International Criminal Court, but the Sadc absolved the President of any blame, irritating SAPSN.
“SAPSN strongly encourages the Sadc leadership to appoint a fact-finding mission to establish the facts on the ground, which include bizarre acts of torture, killings and rape of women and minors,” SAPSN said in a statement released on February 13.
“Contrary to the smear campaign against Zimbabwean CSOs, the social movements in Zimbabwe (particularly those affiliated to the SAPSN) are not working in cahoots with external forces to destabilise the Zimbabwean State. Indeed, the NGOs [non-governmental organisations] are fighting for the entrenchment of democracy and genuine rule of law in Zimbabwe.”
Mnangagwa was on Saturday unapologetic over the brutal army crackdown and blamed the opposition MDC and some rights groups for hijacking the fuel price protests to destabilise the country, before issuing a chilling warning to future similar demonstrations
The SAPSN called on Sadc to “reinforce Zimbabwe’s commitment to Sadc Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan in maintaining good political, economic and corporate governance entrenchment in the culture of democracy, full participation by civic society, transparency and the respect for the rule of law.
“Enforce Zimbabwe’s commitment in fostering fundamental human rights and freedoms as enshrined in section 11 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 20) Act of 2013.”