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  • Crisis Coalition deploys Regional Advocacy Mission to Malawi
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    February 11, 2013

    A five-member civil society delegation under the banner of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is in Malawi to meet relevant stakeholders crucial in helping Zimbabwe hold a peaceful constitutional referendum and free and fair elections in 2013. The delegation which is drawn from different sectors in civil society will be in Malawi for three days where they will meet government officials, civil society actors and other strategic stakeholders.

    The five member delegation is comprised of Crisis Coalition Advocacy Committee Chairperson and Director of Combined Harare Residents Association, Mfundo Mlilo, Bulawayo United Progressive Residents Association (BUPRA) Director, Roderick Fayayo, Musasa Project Director, Netty Musanhu, Media and Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe Advocacy Officer, Molly Chimhanda and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Coordinator, Dr Phillian Zamchiya.

    The delegation is expected to meet leaders of different political parties in Malawi, Chairperson of the Human Rights Consultative Council, Mr Undule Mwakasungura, Centre for Development of people Director, Mt Gift Trapence and Council of Non Governmental Organisation Chairperson, Mr. Voice Mhone.

    The civil society leaders are also expected to meet the Advisor to the current Malawi President, Her Excellence Madam Joyce Banda who is also the current SADC Deputy Chairperson. Interviews with the Malawi media have also been lined up for the Mission.

    Given the intricate history Zimbabwe shares with Malawi the delegation goes with a message of solidarity to Malawians in their pursuit of economic restoration and democratic consolidation. The mission will also shed more light on the normative progress on the implementation of the GPA with reference to the constitution making process. The civil society leaders will also draw attention to the shrinking of democratic space as witnessed by the onslaught of civil society organizations doing voter education and illegal arrest and detention of human rights defenders ahead of the referendum and elections.

    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Advocacy Chairperson and Combined Harare Residents Association Director, Mr. Mlilo stated that they are going to Malawi to seek solidarity from their Malawian counterparts to help them maintain pressure on the Government of Zimbabwe to implement critical but realistic reforms before the constitutional referendum and an imminent election this year.

    "We are going to Malawi as a member state of SADC to impress upon their governments that i) there are still key reforms that need to be implemented ahead of the elections ii) that there is need for a clear roadmap to elections. This includes the issue of observers. With the history of our elections there is certainly need to ensure security of the voter and security of the vote. To this end, there must be regional observers two months before and two months after elections", Mlilo explained.

    Crisis in Zimbabwe director MacDonald Lawenika said Malawi was a strategic regional partner and hence the efforts to seek their solidarity in the democratisation cause in Zimbabwe ahead of the crucial referendum and elections expected in 2013.

    "Malawi's geographical, historic, and political proximity to Zimbabwe makes it a worthy target of lobby, especially in light of the fact that they currently deputize Mozambique as Chair of SADC. Our intent in engaging with the Malawi Government and public is also emboldened by the principled position that Malawi took last year, while sitting in the AU Chair, with regards to the issue of the Sudanese president Al Bashir's unfinished matters with the International Criminal Court pertaining to violations of human rights," Lawenika said.

    The delegation is also expected to call for special attention to be made on security sector reform and governance after the recent utterances by the Minister of Defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa, that 'security sector reform is a no go area'. Security sector is one of the key deliverables of the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe as mandated by the GPA.

    In a briefing paper to be used by the mission as a guiding tool for the regional advocacy, the Coalition stated that "it is against this background that as Zimbabwe civil society in alliance with our solidarity movements in the regional are pleading with the Honourable Government of Malawi to persuade all political parties in Zimbabwe's Inclusive Government, fellow SADC and AU member states to play a more pro-active role in ensuring the implementation of elections related reforms in the draft constitution, the GPA and emphasized in SADC communiqués.

    The delegation will seek to request the people of Malawi and their governments to influence SADC specifically to do the following:

    1. Monitor and observe the constitutional referendum so as to measure the democraticness and preparedness of Zimbabwe to hold a peaceful, free and fair election this year.

    2. Call for an extraordinary SADC summit on the Zimbabwe Election that will review the realignment of election related provisions in the constitution with current laws, adopt a code of conduct for political parties and a specific military code of conduct in the election.

    3. Deploy long-term observers to Zimbabwe to beef up a stretched Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee (JOMIC) as soon as the dates for the elections are officially proclaimed to mitigate against state sponsored violence and harassment of citizens.

    4. Assist Zimbabwe to have a peaceful transfer of state power from the current government to whoever wins and maintain SADC's current role until there is stability.

    5. Advise the Zimbabwe government that the control of diamonds by individuals, military and political elite breeds ground for funding conflict which is a threat to Zimbabwe and the neighboring countries.

    "In summary, we are conscious of the challenges that Malawi faces hence we are most grateful that you have kept engaged on Zimbabwe. We are convinced that, with continued support from SADC, Zimbabwe can have sustainable peace, prosperity and democracy which will also, in an important way, enhance political and democratic stability in the region", read the briefing paper.

    Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe fact sheet

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