30 November 2012

Zimbabwe: CSOs Escalate Regional Lobby

The CSOs, operating under the auspices of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, have dispatched missions to Mozambique and Tanzania to persuade their governments to put pressure on political players in Zimbabwe, SADC and African Union member states to play a more active role in ensuring the full implementation of agreed reforms in the Global Political Agree-ment (GPA).

A host of agreed GPA reforms remain outstanding as the coalition government nears the end of its life-span.

The CSOs, accused by ZANU-PF of being appendages of the Movement for Demo-cratic Change (MDC-T), are concerned the country could be headed for another sham poll, citing the lack of requisite reforms, among them the re-alignment of the security sector.

The MDC formations and their allies accuse the security sector of being complicity in the political violence that rocked the 2008 harmonised elections.

The MDC-T says more than 200 of his supporters were killed in the run up to the presidential election run-off in 2008.

On Monday, the CSO delegation met the Tanzania Civil Society Consortium of Election Observation director, Merick Luvinga, where possibilities of organising an early regional civil society team to monitor and observe the referendum and elections in Zimbabwe were discussed.

Luvinga is said to have pledged solidarity with Zimbabwe's CSOs and emphasised the need for Tanzania CSO's support.

Phillian Zamchiya, the South African-based regional coordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is leading the delegation to Tanzania while McDonald Lewa-nika, the national director of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, is heading the delegation to Mozam-bique.

Zamichiya said his delegation urged that country's civil society groupings to convince their government and SADC that Zimbabwe's watershed election should be subjected to scrutiny by all interested stakeholders and for the invitations to come months before the elections.

"The joint civil society delegation acknowledged some positive changes in Zimbabwe's amended Electoral Act.

However, it emphasised the need to address a number of impediments, which include a controversial voters' roll, stringent voter registration requirements, legislative reform as well as political violence, characterised by a clampdown on human rights defenders and CSO leaders," said Zamchiya.

"The meeting emphasised that it would be important for a regional civil society team to monitor and compile early warning reports. The referendum was cast as an opportunity for CSOs in SADC to test Zimbabwe's preparedness for a general election."

Luvinga said Tanzanian CSOs believed that it is only through constant engagement as well as regional collaboration and lobby on the Harare crisis that Zimbabwe could be able to have a free, fair and peaceful election in line with the SADC Electoral guidelines and whose outcome will be fair and transparent.

Lewanika's delegation also met with officials from Mozambique's CSOs and politicians from the ruling FRELIMO. -- Staff Reporter.

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