1) We recognise and appreciate South Africa’s continued political and economic engagement on Zimbabwe, most notably through mediation efforts undertaken at the height of the Zimbabwe crisis between 2007 and 2013;
2) We note that the visit by President Mugabe happens at a time when the deteriorating and precarious political and economic situation in Zimbabwe poses a threat to both national and regional peace and stability. We note with great concern, as a case in point, the abduction of journalist and pro-democracy activist, Itai Dzamara by suspected state security agents on the 9th of March 2015. Itai Dzamara’s whereabouts, state and well being remain unknown today.
3) We wish to reiterate our long-standing position that the disputed election of 31 July 2013, which surprisingly saw the end of South Africa-facilitated mediation on Zimbabwe, did not resolve the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Rather, it further plunged the country into deeper crisis as witnessed by the lack of substantive democratic reforms, almost two years down the line, and an economy that continues to be in a free-fall, as evidenced by numerous company closures and rising unemployment;
4) We also note the ugly succession battles in the ruling party ZANU PF which if not properly and skilfully managed may result in political instability. To a larger extent the succession issue is now derailing government performance as Ministers focus on internal party politics at the expense of the nation.
5) We note and express gratitude to the South African government for its swift response to the plight of Zimbabweans seeking to eke out a living in South Africa, by way of offering an extension of the special dispensation to Zimbabweans living in South Africa under the Zimbabwe Special Permit (ZSP) regime.
In light of the above, we therefore plead with South Africa President, Jacob Zuma, to:
1) Insist that Zimbabwe – as Chair of both the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) – demonstrates commitment to upholding the rule of law, respect for human rights, good governance and accountability by urgently undertaking key democratic reforms that support Zimbabwe’s new Constitutional dispensation;
2) Impress upon President Mugabe the need to have a solid, practical and all-inclusive plan of rescuing the economy by, among other key essentials, creating a conducive environment for trade and domestic and international investment in Zimbabwe;
3) Urge President Mugabe to decisively deal with internecine fighting within his political party, as this is having an adverse affect on the manner in which the country is being run, primarily due to the irresponsible conflation of State and Party interests;
4) Encourage President Mugabe’s Government, working with other interested stakeholders, to create a platform for dialogue and engagement with Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora, particularly in South Africa, and allow them to positively contribute to the rebuilding of their country;
5) Direct the South African Department of Home Affairs (DHA) to look into and act on the various concerns raised by Zimbabwean civil society stakeholders regarding the ZSP regime.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition re-affirms its commitment to working with the South African government, diplomatic communities, academics and civil society movements in South Africa and the rest of the continent towards resolving the protracted Zimbabwe crisis.
Another Zimbabwe is possible!Post published in: Analysis