Zimbabweans Take a Stand! Massive Petition to SADC, Calls for Political Settlement
Zimbabweans have launched a petition to the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security, urging for a political settlement in the aftermath of a disputed election that drew condemnation from both regional and international observers. With over 8,000 signatures gathered so far, the petition has been convened by Ibbo Mandaza and Tony Reeler.
Election Credibility in Question
The conveners expressed their disappointment, stating that the 2023 harmonized elections failed the credibility test, garnering agreement from reputable regional and international observers. The main opposition, civil society organizations, and ordinary citizens have also condemned the election.
Highlighting concerns about the government’s lack of reform since assuming power through a military coup in 2017, the conveners emphasized the absence of political and economic progress necessary for a free, fair, and credible election. They argued that the 2017 coup merely perpetuated the governance style that led to the current election outcome.
“By any measure the Zimbabwean government since 2017 has shown no ability to reform, either politically or economically and to create the conditions that could lead to an election that is free, fair and credible. The coup in 2017 did not usher in a new dispensation but a continuation of the kind of governance that has led to the 2023 result,” stated conveners.
Advocating for a Transitional Government
According to the conveners, the only viable solution to the Zimbabwean crisis is the establishment of a transitional government. They drew parallels to the resolution of the Rhodesian crisis and proposed the formation of an Eminent Persons Group to negotiate the composition of the transitional government, involving political parties and major citizen groupings.
Broad-Based Negotiations and Electoral Reform
Mandaza and Reeler stressed the importance of inclusive negotiations, encompassing political parties, civil society, churches, labor unions, women’s organizations, and other citizen groupings. They called for a complete overhaul of the country’s electoral laws and institutions, aiming to ensure that future elections meet regional and international standards.
A Call for Support
The conveners urged all Zimbabweans, both within the country and in the diaspora, to support the petition. They further called upon SADC, the African Union, and the international community to provide backing and assistance through the Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security to address the crisis.
As Zimbabwe grapples with the aftermath of the disputed election, the voices of concerned citizens rise in unison, seeking a political settlement and the implementation of reforms that will restore faith in the democratic process, reported newsday.