By Darlington Gatsi
CIVIC societies in Southern Africa have called for SADC’s intervention in the worrying political situation in Zimbabwe, where the democratic space continues to shrink, as the country heads for 2023 presidential elections.
The organisations converged in DRC at an annual summit last week to deliberate on the challenges being faced by citizens in the region.
In a statement, civic organisations raised concern over Zimbabwe’s political situation, demanding for the regional bloc to send emissaries to find a lasting solution.
“We demand a resolution on shrinking civic and democratic space that addresses the current political situation. SADC must immediately send an observer mission that is inclusive of CSOs to monitor and observe the situation in Zimbabwe,” read the statement.
The demand comes on the back of Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe’s banned public prayer that was scheduled for last week.
Main opposition, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), has also encountered the same fate, with its planned rallies being shelved by the police.
Opposition leaders and activists have been arraigned before the courts, with Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole languishing in prison for nearly three months.
SADC civic societies also demanded for the leaders to unanimously condemn the harassment of activists in Zimbabwe.
Last week the Ministry of Health and Child Care dismissed trade union leader, Robert Chiduku, after he led nurses’ mass action in July, drawing criticism from workers unions.
“(We) encourage the government of Zimbabwe to engage the stakeholders on the amendment bill, which threatens the existence of non-governmental organisations.
“We urge SADC leaders to condemn the criminalisation and victimisation of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe,” read the statement.
Last week CCC also announced that it will be pinning hopes on the international community over the arrests of its members.