By Mlondolozi Ndlovu
Harare, August 26, 2016 – THE People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has welcomed sentiments by a group of world renowned individuals known as the Elders who recently urged SADC leaders to support the formation of a National Transitional Authority (NTA) that should steer Zimbabwe back to stability and growth.
The Elders is a grouping of independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights.
They include former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, former US president Jimmy Carter, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Graca Machel, wife to the late South African President Nelson Mandela.
The Elders recently wrote to SADC member states ahead of the start of the regional group’s summit in Swaziland next month that Zimbabwe is “on the verge of an important transition”.
If handled well, they said, this could lead to a peaceful and democratic change of leadership and a renewed focus on social and economic development.
The Elders said they firmly believed that a successful transition was vital not only for Zimbabwe but also for the SADC region.
“The PDP has been calling for the National Transitional Authority (NTA) to allow an orderly transition from the predatory ZANU PF to a democratic Zimbabwe.
“The NTA is not another government of national unity (GNU),” said PDP spokesperson Jacob Mafume.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of a devastating social and economic catastrophe that has driven millions into often unrewarding informal trading, joblessness while citizen despondency has been reflected in increasing protests which have been crushed by the state.
Legendary South African human rights lawyer George Bizos warned last month Zimbabwe was on the brink of civil war if the current crisis is not handled well by the country’s rulers.
This comes against increasing calls for the formation of an NTA which PDP says should be open to prominent individuals who wield some strong influence on different sections of society and have a progressive vision for their nation.
“The NTA will also provide a soft landing for Zimbabwe as the ZANU PF regime has already been weakened as evidenced by its controversial policies,” said PDP.
“Mugabe has remained as Zimbabwe’s biggest liability because of his failure to manage his own succession in Zanu PF.
“The PDP’s justification for calling for such the NTA is that the country’s woes cannot be fixed by the same crop of failed leaders who created them.
“The PDP firmly believes that is time for Zanu PF ministers to step aside and give a genuine chance to economic and social recovery.
“As a result of the economic and political challenges facing the country, we strongly believe support the position that Zimbabwe should be included on the agenda of this month’s SADC summit.”
Tendai Biti’s party says the NTA will focus on key functions of transition including the implementation of an emergency economic recovery plan, align the country’s laws to the new Constitution, restoration of the social contract and that there is peace in Zimbabwe to pave way for conditions for holding free and fair elections.