CSOs to submit Zimbabwe election petition at SADC Lilongwe summit

Zimbabwe civil society groups and their regional counterparts have resolved to submit a petition at the SADC Heads of State Ordinary Summit in Lilongwe, Malawi, on Saturday, to pressure the regional grouping into assessing what transpired at the recent elections won by Zanu (PF) and President Robert Mugabe.

The Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation of Malawi, in collaboration with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, made the resolution at a civil society and media feedback meeting held today in Lilongwe.

The Media and CSOs briefing builds on statements issued by civil society organisations in Zimbabwe andthe recent regional civil society partners’ meeting held in Gaborone on August 10 under the Botswana Civil Society Coalition on Zimbabwe.

Involved civil society groups will march down Lilongwe streets to the SADC summit and submit their petition.

Zimbabwe Crisis Coalition spokesperson, Thabani Nyoni, told The Zimbabwean from Lilongwe that the CSOs remained optimistic that their petition wouldl have a bearing on proceedings at the summit.

“We are confident that we will successfully handover the petition and that the heads of state will take it seriously,” said Nyoni in a telephone interview.

The petition would give SADC reason to conduct a sober post-mortem of the disputed Zimbabwe harmonised elections of July 31 and make appropriate recommendations.

Besides making SADC take corrective measures on the disputed polls, the petition will also seek to pressure members of the regional bloc into more accountability regarding their regional commitments such as standard electoral processes among others.

Though the CSOs could not measure the impact of the intended petition, they found joy in Botswana’s persistence that SADC conduct an audit of the Zimbabwe plebiscite.

In Lilongwe, the CSOs plan to share their experiences and consolidate their unity of purpose in their regional activities.

Zimbabweans scattered across the Globe are holding their breath as they expect SADC to come up with a positive way forward regarding the political impasse caused by the contestations around poll results.

Outgoing Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, and his MDC-T recently filed election court challenges, demanding that the elections be nullified saying they were tainted by serious irregularities.

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