CiZC Statement ahead of President Mnangagwa’s meeting at the UN General Assembly

The 73rd ordinary session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 and Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to join other world leaders in discussing how best UN member states can create equitable and peaceful societies.

Mnangagwa’s attendance at the UN General Assembly meeting comes on the backdrop of a disputed election in Zimbabwe which has seen his legitimacy largely being questioned.

Ahead of the UN meeting, CiZC would like to reiterate that Zimbabwe, as was the situation during the Robert Mugabe era, has largely failed the litmus test as far as creating an equitable and peaceful society is concerned.

Despite claims of a ‘new era’, the government has failed to uphold constitutionalism, as well as respect for tenets of credible elections and thus peace and equity, remain a far-fetched dream in Zimbabwe.

The current government came in through a military coup which deposed former President, Robert Mugabe in November 2017. After the military coup, there was an increased militarization of state institutions as the new government led by Mnangagwa sought to entrench its power.

The involvement of the military in almost all facets of the government posed a great threat to peace and stability and fears among ordinary Zimbabweans were heightened following the apparent militarization of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) ahead of the July 30, 2018 elections.

Sentiments from senior Zanu PF officials that they would campaign with the assistance of the army as well as that the army stands ready to block opposition rule in the country made the situation quite precarious.

As CiZC, we remained firm that Zimbabwe needed a return to constitutionalism as well as credible elections for peace to prevail and ultimately, for economic development to take off.

The military’s heavy-handed approach was seen post the 30th of July when the army shot dead seven unarmed and fleeing citizens after protests broke out in Harare.

The military was later to be deployed in high-density areas where they harassed ordinary citizens. This was happening at a time State security agents were hunting down opposition and civil society activists.

The determination by Zanu PF to cling to power at all costs-including sacrificing human life- as well as the military element stands as the biggest obstacles to peace in Zimbabwe.

As CiZC, we have already expressed serious reservations with the local composition of the Commission of Inquiry set up by President Mnangagwa to investigate the extra-judicial killings of civilians by the army.

It is in this regard that the coalition calls for a broad-based multi-stakeholder approach in responding to the crisis of governance and legitimacy bedevilling Zimbabwe.

The first step is for the international community to insist upon the demilitarization of the Zimbabwe polity and a return to constitutionalism as a panacea to the multifaceted crises that is emerging on medieval diseases, failing national economy, the collapse of social service nets, institutionalized corruption and weakening of the institutions.

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