THOUSANDS of Zimbabweans have petitioned the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) demanding an extraordinary summit to resolve the country’s political logjam following last month’s disputed elections.
This comes at a time when there has been a series of protests from opposition parties and Civic Society Organisations against the outcome of the polls which saw President Emmerson Mnangagwa being declared the winner.
The August 23 and 24 elections have been flagged by local, regional and international observer missions as heavily flawed, but the ruling Zanu PF party insists the polls were free and fair. Mnangagwa has challenged the losers to seek recourse at the courts of law, but the main opposition party Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) has snubbed the legal route saying the Judiciary is captured.
Instead, CCC leader Nelson Chamisa has embarked on a regional diplomatic offensive to pile pressure for fresh elections supervised by Sadc and the African Union.
As of yesterday, over 3 679 people had signed the petition initiated by a group known as Zimbabwean Citizens. The petition is targeting 5 000 signatures.
“Cognisant of the fact that, on 23 August 2023, Zimbabwe held what was supposed to be a harmonised general election. We, the people of Zimbabwe, united in our common desire for democracy, constitutionality, and constitutionalism demand an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe, a full member State of Sadc and demand a fresh, free, fair and credible election.
“These elections were not held in accordance with the provisions of the Zimbabwe election law as defined in the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe, a member of Sadc, did not also follow the Sadc guidelines on elections.
“Since the declaration of results by Zec, there have been multiple incidents of abductions and torture, burning down of property belonging to supporters of the opposition, among other things. We demand that Sadc hold an extraordinary meeting to address the Zimbabwe elections issue, which is now threatening the stability of the region. Zimbabwe needs fresh elections that conform to the Constitution of Zimbabwe and Sadc guidelines on elections,” the petition read.
Another petition championed by respected local academics Ibbo Mandaza and Tony Reeler earlier this month called on the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security to oversee a political settlement in the country. As of yesterday, it had 36 388 signatures against a target of 50 000 signatures.
Exiled former Ntabazinduna chief Felix Nhlanhlayamangwe Ndiweni also launched an online petition challenging Mnangagwa’s victory in the August election. The petition is targeting 1 500 signatures and has already garnered 1 149.
As pressure mounts on Sadc to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis, a non-governmental organisation, Southern African Youth Solidarity Network (SAYSN) has said it would write to the regional body to convene an extraordinary summit to resolve the issue of the disputed elections held in the country recently.
In a communiqué, SAYSN said the recent elections were flawed, adding that there was need for Sadc to convene an urgent meeting to address the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
The organisation urged the bloc to pressure Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law and to allow for free and fair elections.
“We support the call for a national inclusive dialogue process for Zimbabweans, supported by the region and the international community,” the NGO said.
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