The opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) led by Nelson Chamisa, has said Zimbabwe must normalise relations with the Commonwealth club. The call comes as Zimbabwe has, since 2018, been pushing in vain to rejoin the bloc. A Commonwealth team is in the southern African country to assess progress made in preparation for readmission into the bloc. In a statement seen by Pindula News, CCC national spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere said bad politics is standing in the way of Zimbabwe’s re-admission to the Commonwealth. Reads the statement:
ZIMBABWE MUST NORMALIZE RELATIONS WITH COMMONWEALTH
Today, as the Citizen Movement BEING the next Government, we met the Commonwealth delegation led by Assistant Secretary General, Prof, Luis Franceschi. This meeting was part of the ongoing consultation and engagement process regarding Zimbabwe’s re-admission to the Commonwealth. We took the opportunity to brief the Commonwealth on the political situation in the country including the political climate and the breakdown of the rule of law, deteriorating human rights situation, the electoral environment, economic mismanagement and corruption.
1. Political climate and breakdown of the rule of law
Zimbabwe faces a crisis of governance and legitimacy borne out of disputed elections. We noted the acrimony, division, disputed national processes contested leadership, toxicity and lack of legitimacy that plague Zimbabwe. We also noted the absence of genuine, inclusive and comprehensive dialogue. We made reference to the closure of democratic space through the enactment of repressive and undemocratic anti-people legislation including the PVO Bill, Maintenance of Order and Peace Act and the proposed Patriotic Bill. We highlighted the attack and persecution of civic society including human rights defenders, trade unions, the student movement, teachers, journalists, lawyers, the church, politicians and citizens in general. The Police have been incapacitated by Zanu PF and are unable to deal with incidents of incitement to violence by Zanu PF including cabinet members and criminal complaints against Zanu PF members.
2. Human rights situation
We noted the deteriorating human rights situation in the country in particular the selective application and weaponization of the law, persecution by prosecution, pre-trial incarceration and denial of bail. In particular we noted the plight of the Nyatsimel7 including two honourable Members of Parliament, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole. We also highlighted the plight of political prisoners from other parties including political prisoners from MRP, the abduction and torture of our members, the murder of activists including Mboneni Ncube and others, violence against women, the weaponization of food aid, the abuse and victimization of traditional leaders for partisan purposes, impunity of Zanu PF members who incite and perpetrate violence.
3. Electoral environment
We note the general lack of political will to implement credible, inclusive, comprehensive electoral reforms. The electoral environment has been mired by political violence, violation of the right to vote, refusal to implement the diaspora vote, restriction of voter registration, refusal to release a credible voters’ roll and subject it to an audit by a reputable, independent audit firm, a lack of real time, verifiable and accountable results announcement process, credibility and independence of the electoral management body, security of the vote and the voter and the biased state media. There has been an increase in political violence against citizens including Hon Jasmine Toffa and other political leaders and activists from across the country. We have also seen the banning and disruption of political meetings and the violation of freedom of assembly.
4. Economic mismanagement, corruption & collapse of social services
We underscored that over 49% of Zimbabweans live in extreme poverty and highlighted the general economic hardship affecting Zimbabweans that has been caused by bad governance, economic mismanagement and corruption. Zimbabweans do not have access to basic public services including healthcare, quality education, social security and safety nets. Poverty and economic hardship that have forced over 5 million Zimbabweans to flee the country. Over US$2 billion is lost to corruption and illicit financial flows annually and over US$100 million is lost to gold smuggling each month.
We want what is good for the country and what is good for Zimbabwe. We support everything that respects the Constitution, the citizens and people’s rights. As the next government, our firm view is that Zimbabwe must normalize relations with all progressive nations and global institutions including the Commonwealth in pursuit of mutual co-operation and the national interest. In any event, the withdrawal of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth was a unilateral, ill-conceived, partisan political act. It was not in pursuit of the common, national and public interest. Currently, bad politics is standing in the way of Zimbabwe’s re-admission to the Commonwealth. We call for a value-based, principles-driven, time-bound and process-benchmarked re-admission of Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth guided by the Commonwealth Charter and Harare Commonwealth Declaration of 1991. We made the position clear that, as Zimbabweans, we need to find each other but have failed to resolve our disputed issues in politics and processes. Zimbabwe needs a sincere and genuine, national dialogue on political and electoral reforms underwritten and scaffolded by a credible arbiter. The holding of a credible election and the process and environment leading up to these elections must be peaceful and must be guided by the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and the African Charter on Democracy and Governance.
Fadzayi Mahere National Spokesperson