17 January 2019

Africa: Civil Society Petitions AU Over Zimbabwe Crisis

Photo: The Herald
President Emmerson Mnangagwa said his government would weed out organisations that reportedly encouraged people to riot, among them doctors and lawyers.

Harare — Civil society organisations in Zimbabwe have petitioned the African Union (AU) to intervene and resolve the crisis in the country after a strike over fuel increases left at least eight people dead.

The organisations-under the banner of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC)- believe the situation in Zimbabwe deserves similar attention as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) over which the AU is meeting.

The meeting was set for Thursday (today).

Richard Mahiya, CiZC chairperson, alerted the AU leadership to the killing of some protesters, arrest of more than 150 civilians and the shutdown of the internet during the protests that rocked the Southern African country between Monday and Wednesday.

Mahiya warned the ongoing crisis, which was worsened by steep increases in the price of fuel, might result in regional instability as Zimbabweans seek food, shelter and refuge in neighbouring countries.

"It is our considered view that the country might be sliding into a state of emergency," Mahiya said.

"We therefore call on the African Union to place Zimbabwe on the agenda of the consultation meeting," he stated on behalf of the coalition of civil society organisations.

The AU had not commented on the situation in Zimbabwe.

In October last year, the CiZC met with the Chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Namibian President Hage Geingob, seeking the regional bloc' intervention in Zimbabwe following economic turmoil.

SADC has been criticised for its so-called quiet diplomacy on Zimbabwe.

Only Botswana has voiced its concern against the repressive government.


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