SADC Should Monitor Zim Polls/AIPPA Bad

The delegation also called for the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), describing it as one of the worst condemned pieces of legislation in the world.

A statement by the Zimbabwe Crisis Organisation on Tuesday said there was need to monitor the situation in Zimbabwe as current developments seemed to indicate an emerging trend in political violence, arrests and intimidation; especially those related to sprouting militia groups and other state security institutions.

The Executive Director of the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), Dr Helen Kijo-Bisimba, also emphasised the need to push SADC to be transparent and effective in monitoring the forthcoming Zimbabwe election.

Kijo-Bisimba was quoted by the Zimbabwe Crisis Organisation as also having called for civil society in Tanzania to independently observe and monitor the referendum, draw lessons, and eventually monitor the general election.

The joint delegation emphasised the need for LHRC to put pressure on the Tanzania government in partnership with other civil society organizations in Tanzania to ensure that their government keeps its eyes focused on Zimbabwe’s inclusive government so that it can complete the constitution, implement electoral reforms and professionalise the security sector as part of the demands for a free and fair election.

LHRC is one of the leading civil society institutions in Tanzania promoting human rights. The meeting with LHRC was a build-up to previous meetings as a way to strengthen regional solidarity as Zimbabwe gears toward a watershed election scheduled for next year.

The joint delegation also called for Joint Monitoring Committee ( JOMIC) to be empowered enough to engage, monitor, evaluate, and hold state security institutions to account and for SADC to establish guidelines for conduct of the security sector and political parties before, during and after elections with clear consequences for transgression.

On the constitution the delegation highlighted that the constitution making process must be completed as per Article 6 specified in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) so that the people of Zimbabwe can have a final say through a free and fair referendum.

Kijimbo-Bisimba said Tanzania’s civil society needed to know the timelines of what is supposed to be done (that is when the referendum and the elections should be held).

“On the constitution and referendum, we want to have a civil society monitoring team led by TACCEO, an organisation that monitors human rights conditions in Tanzania. We can do a monitoring of referendum and publish our reports to SADC’, she emphasised.

Dr Kijo- Bisimba indicated that the Tanzania government is not well informed about the political situation.

‘We will put the information to our government, raising awareness so that they [government] understand from the other side of the coin because they understand the situation from the perspective of the Zimbabwe government’.

Action Support Centre also committed to link up with the organisations in Tanzania so that there can be more coordinated regional solidarity in 2013.

Meanwhile the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Tanzania chairperson, Mohamed Tibanyendera, condemned AIPPA labelling it as the worst law condemned by global activists today.

‘AIPPA is very bad because in practice everyone [in Zimbabwe] can end up being in jail’, he said.

He criticised moves by the Tanzania government to reproduce AIPPA and called for civil society organisations in the region to resist it.

The delegation include Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Spokesperson, Thabani Nyoni, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Director, Phillan Zamchiya, Women’s Coalition Chairperson, Virginia Muwanigwa; MISA-Zimbabwe Director, Nhlahla Ngwenya, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Board Chairperson, Kate Gardner of Action Support Centre, Sipho Theys and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Information Assistant, Maureen Gombakomba

Tanzania is the current SADC Troika Chair with a mandate to monitor the inclusive government and ensure that Zimbabwe holds peaceful, free and fair elections next year.

In the same meeting, South Africa’s Action Support Centre (ASC)/ Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum (ZSF) emphasised the importance of regional solidarity in seeking prosperity, peace and democracy not only in Zimbabwe but in other hot spots like DRC, Swaziland and Madagascar.