SADC petitioned over Zim crisis

THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states have
been petitioned to grant  temporary residence permit papers to an
estimated five million undocumented displaced Zimbabwe citizens citing
worsening political and socio-economic crisis.

The petition was sent this week to the SADC regional headquarters

secretariat in Botswana by the Johannesburg-based Zimbabwe Diaspora

Civic Society Organisations (CSOs) leadership based in South Africa.

In an exclusive interview on Thursday, the Zimbabwe Diaspora CSOs Forum

Treasurer-General, Luke Zunga, said millions of

undocumented and displaced Zimbabweans were urgently  seeking refuge

within the SADC grouping member states’ territories, until the

political crisis in the Southern African nation had been resolved.

More than 60 percent of Zimbabweans displaced as a result of political

and economic meltdown in their country are  undocumented and have no


They are subjected to chronic arrests, detention, deportations and


humiliation within all these SADC countries.

“They are deported back to a hegemonic dictatorship which has

consistently committed human rights abuses on its  citizens amid

hunger and joblessness. The Forum await to hear from SADC, who are so

far quiet, while people are suffering,” said Zunga.

The Forum insisted that they were not Jews in Mecca, but SADC citizens

in SADC, and Africans in Africa arguing that the organisation would

appreciate any negotiations that are aimed at finding some long

lasting solutions to both the socio-economic and political crises

besieging Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the same ocassion, the Forum’s Co-ordinator, Norah Tapiwa,

said the Diaspora was lumped under MDC, the reason being the terms of

reference structured by SADC and that during South Africa’s CODESA

civil societies were included under the ANC.

“There are millions of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, who are here

because of situations beyond their control, and not because they

subscribe to the MDC.  This lumping is not desirable.  The SADC

communiqué for SADC ministers of finance to work out an economic

package for Zimbabwe is merely to close the meeting.

“The cue comes from South Africa Minister of Finance, Trevor Emmanuel,

who said the options for Zimbabwe were spelt to them, and is up to

Zimbabwe.  We cannot see SADC raising a minimum of US$10 billion

required for  Zimbabwe to move out of recession.

“None of these initiatives are mobilizing or involving the totality of

the citizens or the Diaspora in particular. The core issue of a

President controlling an un-audited budget used to pay salaries of

thousands of political executioners and vigilantes in the rural and

urban areas is neither affected by the negotiations nor authorized by

the current constitution.  On this approach these initiatives fall

short and Zimbabwe will remain in limbo,” said Tapiwa.

She said the petition to the SADC secretariat in Botswana was their

humble approach for refugee and support.

She added: “In return the Diaspora will provide financial assistance

to all permit holders so that they engage in viable economic

activities and provide a platform for the development of Zimbabwe as

well as raising billions, over time,  to finance reconstruction of

Zimbabwe.  The Forum wants to be involved in the process of

documentation to reduce costs.”

Tapiwa said if the SADC secretariat ignored or refused their request,

then their last option would be approaching an international court of

justice with all the evidence of human rights atrocities and abuse of

Zimbabweans in SADC. – Own correspondent

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