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  • 2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles

  • Letter to President Thabo Mbeki
    April 01, 2008

    President Mbeki
    President of the Republic of South Africa

    Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs
    Mr. Aziz Pahad, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs

    1 April 2008

    Dear Mr. President,

    I write on behalf of CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, an organization headquartered in South Africa, with members in 120 countries.

    As you may be aware, our mandate is to support and strengthen civil society and citizen action around the world and in that context we have been engaging with the situation in Zimbabwe for some years. The focus of our work there is to support our brothers and sisters on the ground in Zimbabwe and offer solidarity in their time of difficulty.

    We valued highly the opportunity in July 2007 to meet with the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs to discuss progress in your SADC mandate to facilitate discussions around Zimbabwe. In particular, we appreciated his recognition of the value of civil society contributions to the process and were pleased to note that shortly afterwards a consultation with Zimbabwean civil society was held.

    I now write to you to raise increasing concerns from our civil society colleagues in Zimbabwe.
    As you are undoubtedly aware, serious doubts have been raised about the election process, apparent rigging and the delay in announcing results. While it is too early for election observers to release their full reports, some have already raised serious concerns - within the SADC team for instance, we understand that some observers have refused to sign the preliminary report due to the grave defects in the polls.

    When Africans are faced with troubles, other Africans must step forward to assist. During South Africa's darkest hours under apartheid, Zimbabweans held out their hands in support. Now that it is Zimbabwe that is facing near ruin, it is South Africa's turn to show leadership and guidance to other African nations and solidarity to the people of Zimbabwe.

    We need only look to Kenya to see the tragedy that can unfold during volatile post-election periods. This catastrophe could be repeated in Zimbabwe, if election processes are not dealt with in a timely, lawful and transparent manner.

    We respectfully request on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe, and our members in Africa and worldwide, that you do all you can to ensure that the Zimbabwean government respects the will of the people. We humbly suggest that your leadership in calling for transparency could prevent a tragedy from occurring.


    Kumi Naidoo
    Secretary General, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation

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