Crisis Coalition ready for 2012: Watershed year for Zimbabwe

While hopes for democracy begin to dim for some people and entities, one organisation that looks far from tiring is Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

Protesters during a recent march organised by Crisis in Johannesburg.
Protesters during a recent march organised by Crisis in Johannesburg.

Leading the assault is the organisation’s South African office, led by lawyer and regional coordinator, Dewa Mavhinga. Taking stock of its activities last year, Crisis can celebratemany achievements, notably strong coordination and collaboration.

“We worked with several leading Zimbabwean civil society groups on regional and international lobby and advocacy, which kept the political crisis firmly in the limelight,” Mavhinga told The Zimbabwean this week.

The organisation’s relentless lobbying -attending every regional and continental summit and countering Zanu (PF) propaganda with facts about what is actually happening on the ground – saw President Robert Mugabe and his party fail to implement their December 2010 resolution to hold elections in 2011 in the absence of credible reforms.

SADC leaders pulled the plug on that plan, openly rebuked Mugabe and placed emphasis on the need to end violence and fully implement the Global Political Agreement before elections can be held.

“Solidarity with regional civil society groups in various SADC states, particularly in Botswana Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zambia, strengthened in 2011. We aim to consolidate these excellent relations going forward,” said Mavhinga.

A reference point for political analysis and a reliable alternative source of accurate and objective information on the country’s political conflict,Mavhinga’s office has distinguished itself, becoming sought after by media houses, diplomats and other policymakers.

“During the course of 2011 the Regional Office struck a vital partnership with The Zimbabwean to publish its weekly Zimbabwe Briefing newsletter. This enables the Regional Office to reach a much wider audience weekly.

“We will however, not rest on these achievements. We approach 2012 with renewed energy to strongly push for the democratisation of Zimbabwe supported by an active SADC and African Union,” vowed Mavhinga. “Our focus will be to ensure that all SADC states sustain the consensus that nothing short of genuinely democratic, non-violent, free and fair elections will be acceptable in Zimbabwe. SADC should ensure that the dysfunctional inclusive government is pushed to implement necessary reforms to make elections possible.”

The aim is not to for the inclusive government to continue in perpetuity, but that elections under the 2008 conditions of violence and intimidation would be futile. This is the message that the office and other civil society groups will take to South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia – members of the SADC Organ Troika on Defence, Politics and Security – charged with mediating the peace process in Zimbabwe.

“A key message is that Zanu (PF) and Mugabe will no longer be able to dictate terms in Zimbabwe,” added the Crisis coordinator.

“Elections will only take place when conditions are right, and when pro-democracy political parties, civil society and SADC are satisfied.Any attempts to push for elections will be resisted strongly.”

He believes 2012 carries greater challenges as “it is a watershed year for Zimbabwe”, with a possible national referendum of the constitution within a few months.

“We approach the year with renewed commitment and singular focus to push for democratic elections that will give Zimbabweans a chance to pick up the pieces and begin to genuinely rebuild their lives and their nation. Given the high stakes, it is likely that persecution of civil society actors will increase – but we also intend to keep the global spotlight on Zimbabwe. Our aim is to end tyranny and restore peace and hope.”

Post published in: Africa News

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