14 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Civil Society Lobbies Zambia Govt

CIVIL society organisations (CSOs) this week took their lobby mission to Zambia to ratchet up pressure on Lusaka to force partners in the inclusive government to fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) ahead of next year's polls.

The week-long mission, which comes after a similar offensive to Tanzania, coincides with a fresh stalemate between ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change formations over the constitution draft.

Representatives of the CSOs met with several ministers from President Michael Sata's government, officials from the ruling party Patriotic Front (PF) and non-governmental organisations and took the opportunity to update them on the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

On Monday, the delegation met the Minister of Justice and secretary general of the PF as well as members of the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD). The mission implored the centre to persuade the Zambian government, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union to ensure the implementation of agreed reforms in both the GPA and SADC communiqués issued over the past four years in order to pave way for credible elections in Zimbabwe.

Yesterday, the delegation held meetings with Zambia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and a senior member of the governing party, Given Lubinda.

Phillan Zamchiya, regional coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said SACCORD promised to raise the issues with member states within the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa for consideration in their ongoing programmes meant to strengthen the bloc's election observation programmes in Africa.

Because of the reluctance to fully implement the provisions of the GPA, Zamchiya said Zimbabwe could be headed towards a flawed election.

"We appreciate the solidarity from Zambia's civil society as struggles are won on a people to people solidarity," he said, speaking from Lusaka.

Goodwell Lungu, the executive director of Transparency International, Zambia Chapter, said the Zimbabwean situation has always been high on the agenda of CSOs in Zambia.

"The most effective way to engage SADC would be to hold them accountable to their own agreement, which is the Global Political Agreement," he said.

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