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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Protest march against 'quiet diplomacy'
    Namibia's National Society for Human Rights (NSHR)
    March 16, 2007

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    We salute the civil society actors who are present and those who are present here today to protest our Government's disturbing silence in the face of the growing international consensus that the human rights, humanitarian and human security situation in Zimbabwe is totally unacceptable. Our presence here today adds to the other growing African voices condemning in various ways the current situation in Zimbabwe. President Robert Mugabe's dictatorial regime has come under mounting international condemnation following a barbaric crackdown on civil and political rights over the last weekend.

    At the continental level, current African Union (AU) Chairperson and Ghanaian President John Kufuor last Wednesday expressed concern, saying the Zimbabwean situation is "very embarrassing". In the SADC region the Governments of South Africa and Zambia have also expressed concern while the Tanzania President Jakaya Kikwete yesterday made a one-day unscheduled official visit to Harare to hold talks with Mugabe on the dangerous Zimbabwean situation.

    Various African media power houses in various African countries, such as Uganda, Botswana and South Africa, have also strongly condemned the Government of Zimbabwe and President Robert Mugabe personally for the crisis. We are also happy that Opposition parties in Parliament have spoken out against the blatant human rights situation in Zimbabwe. As can be seen and heard through print and electronic media there is also a growing consensus among individual Namibian citizens who have also strongly condemned Robert Mugabe and his regime.

    On February 27 2007 and during President Mugabe's visit here our own President, Lucas Hifikepunye Pohamba, in his official discussions with Mugabe also urged his embattled Zimbabwean guest to "re-energize efforts to strengthen democratic governance and the rule of law". We thank President Pohamba for making this point clear to Mugabe.

    We, however, should be very disturbed by the fact that on March 14 2007 President Pohamba's own Ministers and Members of Parliament, led by his Foreign Minister Mr. Marco Hausiku, in a chorus rejected a motion in Parliament to debate the Zimbabwe situation. This was at least the fourth time President Pohamba's policy has been defied by his subordinates. The first time took place when Deputy Lands Minister Isak Katali on May 22 2006, while, on a state visit in Zimbabwe praised Mugabe's land reform process, vowing that Mugabe's land policy would also be implemented in Namibia. However, after President Pohamba's Administration reiterated on June 26 2006 that Namibia's land reform policy--of willing seller, willing buyer and expropriation with just compensation--has not changed a bit, our former President Dr. Sam Nujoma angrily contradicted the Government's land reform policy. Speaking at Outapi in Omusati Region on July 1 2006, Nujoma strongly supported Mugabe. The third time occurred on January 30 2007 when the Oshana Regional Council boycotted a workshop on Leadership and Change Management organized by the President Pohamba's Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Nahas Angula's office.

    Namibia's apparent "silence" in the face of the ever-deteriorating Zimbabwean situation should be understood against the background.

    We are nevertheless calling upon SADC as a region to take the example set by its Members States, such as Zambia and South Africa, to collectively and publicly reprimand Mugabe. SADC must also condemn violence and human rights violations in Zimbabwe by whomsoever the perpetrators might be.

    As an example set by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Rights High Commissioner Louse Arbour, the UN Security Council must address the situation in Zimbabwe, a situation which threatens international peace and security.

    We also are calling upon additional targeted sanctions to be instituted against the Mugabe regime. The situation in Zimbabwe is reminiscent of what has been going in South Africa under the apartheid regime. And there was no question on whether or not to impose comprehensive economic and other sanctions against the apartheid regime then.

    I thank you,

    Phil ya Nangoloh
    Executive Director of Namibia's National Society for Human Rights (NSHR)

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