The recently held Regional Summit of Civil Society Organisations took aim at the growing crisis in Zimbabwe which has been worsened by the use of the military to commit human rights violation on citizens.
The country has witnessed a number of violations at the hands of the security forces in recent times after the government’s arrest of civil society members, opposition leaders and alleged abductions by unknown assailants.
The government, however, denies any hand in the abductions citing there is an underhand aiming to tarnish President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
In its communique after the summit, Crisis Coalition In Zimbabwe said it is concerning that citizens are living in fear due to the heavy presence of the military as the political situation in Zimbabwe remains tense.
“Summit expressed deep concern on the worrying trends of state capture by the military and oligarchs in Zimbabwe and other countries and subversion of the rule of law,” reads the statement.
Despite the tensions in Zimbabwe, there have been threats to peace in the SADC especially with a vigilant group in Mozambique that has been causing mayhem for the locals.
Other human violations have been witnessed in counties like Zambia and Tanzania, eSwatini, developments which he summit said were causing the shrinking of democratic spaces in the region.
However, participant agreed that there is need for government to promote peace and harmony.
“Summit acknowledged the importance of people to people solidarity amongst regional social movements and civil society activists in order to foster and entrench a culture of respect for human rights and constitutionalism,” the statement further reads.
Of note was the discussion on COVID-19 which has slowed down economic growth worldwide but some governments like Zimbabwe, the statement alleged, used the pandemic to stifle people’s rights
The COVID-19 has affected food security in the region hence the meeting urged SADC governments to mobilize resources collectively in order to caution citizens, particularly in the food security, health and education sector.
The Summit also urged citizens to continue holding their governments in the SADC region accountable especially on corruption and upscale regional advocacy initiatives against corruption and for stakeholders to urgently address gender-based violence during this Covid19 pandemic lockdown period.