The lobby mission to Lusaka, coordinated by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, comes hard on a similar mission a few months ago to Tanzania.
The delegation left Harare on Sunday and is expected back Saturday.
On Wednesday the Zimbabwe delegation met the Zambia Minister of Foreign Affairs, Given Lubinda, his Deputy Minister Dr. Lungu and Chief of Protocol in the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Phillian Zamchiya, the regional coordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, who is part of the delegation, said the Zimbabwe Civil Society delegation urged the Zambian government to persuade its counterparts in the inclusive government in Zimbabwe to work towards the full implementation of critical issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
“We also made a plea to the Zambian Government to continue working within the SADC framework and influence positive decision-making in SADC and the AU for a sustainable solution to the Zimbabwe crisis,” said Zamchiya.
In response, the Zambian Foreign Affairs Minister Lubinda reportedly said that ‘the Zambian government is committed to a free and fair election in Zimbabwe’.
However, he is said to have opined that ‘there are some reforms [in the GPA] that were included which you might not be able to attain before the next election. You need to prioritise reforms especially in pursuit of holding elections such as the constitution and electoral reforms.’
The Foreign Minister is said to have emphasised that this is the position of President Michael Sata. The Zambian Minister was optimistic that Zimbabwe can hold a credible election.
“Zambia doesn’t doubt the ability of Zimbabwe to hold credible elections, that is why we convinced the world that we can co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly in the same year that Zimbabwe will be holding the next election’, he said.
The Minister also encouraged Zimbabwe’s civil society to continue engaging with African Governments and to also pass the same message to ordinary Zimbabweans so that they can be a shared vision, owned by the people, to hold a free and fair election in Zimbabwe.
Zamchiya added: “We will continue to engage the Zambian government to use its influence positively through its government to government engagements, SADC and the AU to aid a democratic transition in Zimbabwe.”
President Robert Mugabe wants elections held in March but the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) are pushing for them to be held after June, the time when the term of the president and parliament officially ends.