/ 4 November 2009

Zim civil leaders call for immediate action

Zimbabwean civil society leaders are calling for immediate and decisive action to implement a Southern African Development Community-brokered global political agreement (GPA), and halt political violence.

”Since the disengagement two weeks ago of Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change [MDC] from contact with Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF within the government of national unity, there has been widespread political violence and intimidation,” Sydney Chisi, spokesperson for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told reporters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

”There have also been reports of abductions of youth who are again being detained in Zanu-PF training camps … preparing them to perpetrate violent acts against enemies.”

He said civil society organisations condemned the current violence and the notion that ”land is only land when it is owned by blacks”.

”These abductions are orchestrated to revitalise the environment of intimidation in Zimbabwe … the pillars of oppression are beginning to be visible … it is a ticking time bomb.”

He was speaking ahead of Thursday’s SADC troika meeting in Maputo.

”It will worsen if no action is taken … social services are in shambles, hunger and cholera remain constant threats to millions of people, and the outward migration into neighbouring countries of desperate Zimbabweans continues unabated.”

Human rights activist Kerry Kay said the migration of Zimbabweans into South Africa, if not seen to, would affect the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

”It is going to impact on neighbouring countries… President [Jacob] Zuma has big things to take into consideration. We don’t want xenophobic attacks to occur once again during the World Cup.”

Chisi hoped SADC knew what was supposed to be done regarding the GPA.

”SADC leaders in 2009 committed to finding a lasting solution to the implementation of the Zimbabwe GPA … 10 months later Zimbabwe is at a critical and dangerous juncture and requires swift and effective intervention by regional leaders … civil society leaders call on the SADC to work with Zimbabwe’s three main political parties to urgently resolve the present government paralysis to ensure that the GPA is fully implemented, and help the long nightmare of the suffering people in Zimbabwe.” — Sapa