MDC accuses SADC of behaving like a record stuck in a groove after it endorses Mnangagwa


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The Movement for Democratic Change has accused the Southern African Development Community of behaving like a record stuck in a groove after the regional body congratulated Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his appointment as the chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security and also called on the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s main opposition said the regional body had paid no attention at all to the deteriorating situation in the country as well as human rights abuses.

The communique issued by the regional body at the end of a two-day summit in Tanzania was a slap in the face of the MDC who some argue had organised demonstrations on 16 August to attract the attention of SADC whose summit kicked off on 17 August.

Police clamped down on the protests in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru leaving the MDC with a lot of egg on its face.

In a statement today, the MDC said: “It is disconcerting that SADC could congratulate Mr. Mnangagwa as the new head of the regional body’s organ on Defence and security at a time when Zimbabweans are suffering insecurity and defenselessness from the regime in power in Harare.

“While SADC leaders are well within their rights to pronounce themselves on the sanctions issue, it is disappointing that they have a frozen and opportunistic narrative on the matter. There’s no difference between what they have been saying since 2001 and what they said yesterday, like a record stuck in a groove.

“For SADC leaders, it is enough to make the news headlines by ‘expressing solidarity with Zimbabwe’ and ‘calling for the immediate lifting of the sanctions to facilitate socio-economic recovery in the country’.  This 18-year old stock-narrative no longer has an audience besides the SADC leaders themselves.”

SADC did not only call for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, it also declared 25 October as the date on which SADC member states can collectively voice their disapproval of the sanctions through various activities and platforms until the sanctions are lifted.

Below is the full statement by the MDC:

Tuesday, 19 August 2019 (actually 20 August)

MDC position on SADC Communique

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) notes with concern the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Communique on the just ended 39th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

In particular, the SADC Summit turned a blind eye to the deteriorating socio-economic situation, ongoing human rights violations, persecution of  human rights defenders, suspension of the Constitution of the land and lethargy on comprehensive reforms.

The MDC is perturbed by the statement on Zimbabwe in the 36-paragraph SADC Communique issued Sunday following the regional body’s 39th summit of Heads of State and Government that ran from 17 to 18 August 2019 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The SADC Communique is gravely  concerning not just about what it said but also about what it did not say about Zimbabwe.

On paragraph 14 of their Communique, SADC leaders report that “Summit noted the adverse impact on the economy of Zimbabwe and expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe and called for the immediate lifting of the sanctions to facilitate socio-economic recovery in the country”.

Other than paragraph 6 of the Communique that congratulates “Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe as Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation”, nothing else is said about Zimbabwe.

It is disconcerting that SADC could congratulate Mr. Mnangagwa as the new head of the regional body’s organ on Defence and security at a time when Zimbabweans are suffering insecurity and defenselessness from the regime in power in Harare.

While SADC leaders are well within their rights to pronounce themselves on the sanctions issue, it is disappointing that they have a frozen and  opportunistic narrative on the matter. There’s no difference between what they have been saying since 2001 and what they said yesterday, like a  record stuck in a groove.

For SADC leaders, it is enough to make the news headlines by “expressing solidarity with Zimbabwe” and “calling for the immediate lifting of the sanctions to facilitate socio-economic recovery in the country”.  This 18-year old stock-narrative no longer has an audience besides the SADC leaders themselves.

On sanctions, SADC leaders must speak through actions, not through convenient but hollow words for the media. Contextualizing sanctions over  a year ago, in January 2018, Mnangagwa himself said, “Yes, sanctions are there, but we should not continue talking about them. We must have solutions and already we have solutions in agriculture, and this should cascade to all sectors”.

Given Mnangagwa’s position, SADC’s call “for the immediate lifting of the sanctions to facilitate socio-economic recovery in the country” is odd  and out of step with the reality in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabweans have come to know that when SADC leaders want to ignore or distort the tricky crisis of illegitimacy in Zimbabwe, they wax lyrical about sanctions and express “solidarity with Zimbabwe”, while saying and doing nothing about the worsening plight of Zimbabweans.

Yet there can be no Zimbabwe without Zimbabweans.

Before its 38th summit in August 2018, SADC was confronted by military and police atrocities committed in Harare on 1 August 2018, in which six Zimbabweans were killed in cold blood and 35 others were critically injured by the Army and the Police. This was confirmed by the Kaglema Motlanthe Commission, an international body whose appointment SADC supported.

It is incredulous that the 2019 SADC summit was dead silent about the findings of the Motlanthe Commission and the failure and the unwillingness, by Mnangagwa’s administration to hold to account the army and police officers who killed six and injured 35 Zimbabweans on 1 August 2018.

Even worse, between 14 to 28 January 2019, at least 17 Zimbabweans were killed, hundreds tortured, some raped, by elements in the army, police, CIO and Zanu PF militia with thousands were displaced internally and externally in an unprecedented orgy of State violence that affected all major cities across Zimbabwe.

As in the case of the atrocities committed on 1 August 2018, in fact worse than in that case, no process of enquiry has been undertaken; and the State culprits are once again getting away scot-free with impunity.

Continued next page

(102 VIEWS)

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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