Sadc lawyers lobby for Zim national dialogue

THE Sadc Lawyers Association has expressed concern over President Emmerson Mnangagwa government’s failure to tackle the country’s economic meltdown.


In a statement yesterday, the association said even after the ouster of former President Robert Mugabe, the retention of Mnangagwa in power after elections last July has yielded nothing, with Zimbabwe’s economic and political malaise far from stabilising.

The Sadc Lawyers Association is made up of representatives of law societies, bar associations and individual lawyers from the 15-member Sadc region with the aim of advancing and promoting human rights, the rule of law, democracy and good governance in the Sadc region and beyond.

“The challenges in Zimbabwe are deep-seated and require an intense, courageous and fearless national dialogue by Zimbabweans,” the lawyers said in a statement.

“Neither the departure of former President Robert Mugabe nor the recent elections have been a solution to these deep-seated problems,” they said.

“The people of Zimbabwe have serious grievances borne out of a country that has lost its way and has become a fragile State.”

The Sadc lawyers also said government had the responsibility of facilitating peaceful demonstrations.

“In the wake of the recent, but most unexpected and wholly unfathomable repeat of the August 1, 2018 events in Zimbabwe, the Sadc Lawyers Association is saddened (by) the state of affairs in Zimbabwe and in the region. Sadc Lawyers Association condemns in the strongest terms, all forms of violence, whether this is from the citizens or the response from government,” the regional lawyers said.

“It is the citizen’s right to assemble and protest against what they consider to be a legitimate grievance. It is government’s responsibility with all the material in its possession and otherwise to facilitate peaceful demonstrations and to lead thereafter in the process of engaging in an open and meaningful conflict resolution process without resorting to any forms of violence.”

The Sadc Lawyers Association said they were concerned that government failed again last week to peacefully quell the demonstrations against the fuel hikes and economic challenges, but resorted to use of excessive force.

“The use of excessive force, lethal weapons and the deployment of the army in these circumstances clearly demonstrates this failure,” he lawyers said.

“Further, the attempt by government to close off the demonstrations internally in Zimbabwe and externally to the other countries by unduly closing down Internet deserves outright condemnation from all the human rights organisations, progressive organisations and peace loving people at home and abroad.”

Source : NewsDay

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