Solidarité internationale et luttes sociales en Afrique subsaharienne
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Joint statement on Zimbabwe
3 July 2008
The SADC Council of NGOs (SADC-CNGO), Southern African Trade Union Coordinating Council (SATUCC) & Fellowship of Christian Councils in Southern Africa (FOCISSA), representing broad membership in all SADC member states, are deeply concerned that the developments in Zimbabwe grossly undermines the regional community’s efforts to achieve regional integration and go against the spirit and objectives of the SADC Treaty.
Presidential run-off elections and their outcome are illegitimate and cannot be the basis for any solution for Zimbabwe. These elections took place under the conditions of politically motivated violence, arrests & detention, brutality and intimidation, which resulted in one party, ZANU-PF, contesting against itself, and subjecting citizens into submissiveness through repression, torture, murder, detention and destruction of property. Our leaders have allowed the Zimbabwean situation to deteriorate to where it is today, despite the fact that President Robert Mugabe and the ruling ZANU-PF party violated, and continue to violate fundamental values and principles of the SADC Founding Treaty, African Union’s Constitutive Act and United Nation’s Charter in that:
“Article 4 of the Treaty stipulates that “human rights, democracy and the rule of law” are principles guiding the acts of its members. Article 5 of the Treaty outlines the objectives of SADC, which commits Member States to “promote common political values and systems which are transmitted through institutions which are democratic, legitimate and effective. It also commits Member States to consolidate, defend and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability” in the region”;
Further, “the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation provides that SADC shall “promote the development of democratic institutions and practices within the territories of State Parties and encourage the observance of universal human rights as provided for in the Charter and Conventions of African Union and the United Nations”;
The SADC Principles Governing Democratic Elections aims at enhancing the transparency and credibility of elections and democratic governance, as well as ensuring the acceptance of election results by all contesting parties”; and,
In addition, these guidelines are principally informed by legal and policy instruments emanating from the African Union Declaration on the Principles Governing Democratic Elections in Africa – AHG/DECL1 (XXXVIII). The government of Zimbabwe has grossly violated each one of these provisions even though it is a signatory to all of them, and we cannot afford to allow further violations and deepening of the present crisis.
We therefore call on SADC Heads of State & Governments to prevail on the government of Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe to:
Uphold regional and continental norms and protocols governing democratic elections;
End state sponsored and politically motivated forms of violence, intimidation, arrests & detentions;
Repeal repressive pieces of legislation such as the Access to Information Act (POSA), the Broadcasting Services Act, the Presidential and Temporary Measures Act, and the Miscellaneous Offences Act;
Lift the suspension imposed on the operations of NGOs and other civic organizations;
Put in place the transitional arrangements based on the outcome of the March 2008 elections that will usher in conditions necessary for democratic, free & fair Presidential Run-Off elections to take place within the next three months.
Further call on SADC Heads of State and Governments to:
Declare presidential run-off elections and its outcome illegitimate and unacceptable;
In concurrence with the African Union and United Nations, to send a peace-keeping force to Zimbabwe, confine Zimbabwean police and armed forces to the barracks, and disband ZANU-PF’s youth militia & war veterans and close their military base camps;
We believe that human rights, democracy, the rule of law and good governance, being the principles upon which SADC is founded should be strongly protected and that SADC Member States have an obligation to their citizens and the region to guarantee and protect these fundamental rights, and Zimbabwe has failed in all of these principles.
SADC has an obligation in terms of Article 2 (2) of the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation to:
“Protect the people and safeguard the development of the Region against instability arising from the breakdown of law and order, intra-state conflict, inter-state conflict and aggression”;
“Prevent, contain and resolve inter-and intra-state conflict by peaceful means”; and
“Consider enforcement action in accordance with international law and as a matter of last resort where peaceful means have failed”;
We have reached a situation that, after almost ten years of mediation through “diplomatic means”, the situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated, and we need to act now – intervention is truly a matter of our last resort - before it is too late.
We call for a consultative conference of Southern African civil society during July, in solidarity with Zimbabweans. The conference should explore concrete ways in which the Zimbabwean crisis can be ended, and given that mediations to date have failed to bear results, civil society has the responsibility to act.
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