The MDC Alliance has called on the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to urgently intervene in resolving the country’s political crisis.
In a statement, MDC Alliance secretary for International Relations, Gladys Hlatswayo said the MDC calls for genuine national dialogue through an agreed neutral facilitator.
“We reiterate that genuine inclusive national dialogue to agree on a comprehensive reform agenda and platform through an agreed neutral facilitator supported by SADC, the African Union and the International Community at large remains an only plausible route to extricate Zimbabwe out of its current state. We urge SADC to urgently intervene in Zimbabwe in line with the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security in order to maintain regional peace and security,” said Hlatswayo
Her call comes in the wake of the just ended 40th Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government held virtually which she says omitted the Zimbabwean crisis.
“We note that the communique of the just ended 40th Ordinary summit of SADC heads of state and Government has omitted the deteriorating governance and legitimacy crisis in Zimbabwe. Whereas the Communique has taken note of the security situations in some countries including Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, we urge regional leaders to equally pay attention to the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe,” said Hlatswayo
She said under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has increased its crackdown on human rights defenders.
“Under the cover of COVID-19, the Government of Zimbabwe has intensified its crackdown on human rights defenders including journalists, lawyers, labour unions, civic society, the church and the opposition for exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.
“In response to citizen discontent owing to grand state corruption and plummeting socio-economic standards, the political elite has abused state institutions to carry out systematic abductions, torture, extra judicial killings and unlawful arrests.” she added
Hlatswayo said in the short period before and after the July 31 2020, during peaceful citizen protests they have recorded at least 146 cases of human rights violations against MDC Alliance members including 38 abductions.