Malawi, Zimbabwe CSOs for SADC extraordinary summit on Zim polls

Human Rights Consultative Committee (HRCC) in Malawi, in conjunction with Crisis Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) has called upon the Southern Africa Developing Community (SADC) to hold an extra-ordinary summit on the Zimbabwe elections.

The two CSOs made the call during a joint press briefing held in Lilongwe on Thursday aimed at lobbying Malawi Government, SADC and African Union (AU) to watch closely the unfolding events in Zimbabwe ahead of forth coming referendum polls.

Undule Mwakasungula, HRCC Chairperson represented CSOs in Malawi while one, Mfundo Mlilo, Director for Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) represented the CZC.

The CSOs observed that on February 7, 2013 the Zimbabwe Parliament adopted a draft constitution which the warring parties had agreed on and that despite there being little time for civic education, Zimbabweans were going for a referendum on March 6.

Mwakasungura: Let there be credible polls in Zimbabwe

Mwakasungura: Let there be credible polls in Zimbabwe

They noted that the Zimbabwe crisis was far from being over and that there was resurgence of violence targeted at civil society leaders, military involvement in politics and failure to respect the rule of law.

“We therefore, plead with the Malawi Government and SADC to continuously monitor the Inclusive Government.

“And we call for Extraordinary SADC Summit on the Zimbabwe election that will adopt an election road map in alignment with the anticipated constitution, develop a specific code of conduct for the military during the election, a code of conduct in regard to politically motivated violence, and emphasize need for media freedoms among other key reforms,” reads the joint statement.

The CSOs pleaded with SADC, whose chairmanship awaits Malawi soon, to specifically send observers to Zimbabwe in the next two weeks for the constitutional referendum so as to measure the preparedness of Zimbabwe to hold a peaceful, free and fair election this year.

They further asked SADC to deploy long-term observers to Zimbabwe once the dates for the election were announced and to assist Zimbabwe to have a peaceful transfer of state power from the current inclusive government to whoever wins.

Commenting on the statement, the CZC representative Mfundo Mlilo said SADC should also maintain its post-election monitoring role until there was political stability in Zimbabwe.

“We also call for immediate end to arbitrary arrests and the political persecution of civil society activists in Zimbabwe which has been on the rise in the past months,” said Mlilo.

According to Mlilo, the CZC representative group also met Malawi parliamentarians, foreign affairs staff where they had lobbied for the same and he said they were going home “encouraged and victorious” due to the interest that Malawi and her CSOs had shown in the matter.

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