via More than 30 regional NGOs petition SADC over Zim elections | SW Radio Africa by Violet Gonda
Scores of NGOs from Southern Africa are stepping up pressure on the regional body SADC to discuss the disputed Zimbabwe elections at a summit scheduled for Malawi this weekend.
One of the civil society organisations, Action Support Centre, told SW Radio Africa that the NGOs are also planning demonstrations across the region, starting with one in Cape Town on Wednesday.
The call from the civic groups comes as President Robert Mugabe has received congratulatory messages mainly from his traditional supporters in Africa, Asia and eastern Europe. It’s reported that out of the 14 SADC member states, eleven have so far congratulated the 89 year old leader who is accused by his rival MDC formations of rigging and stealing the elections. Western countries have been openly critical of the process, as has Botswana.
Action Support Centre campaign manager Philani Ndebele said the NGOs are calling for SADC to initiate and undertake a comprehensive audit of the election process in Zimbabwe.
“We are trying to challenge the whole process and we have issued out a strong statement and a call to the SADC body not to only accept the report of the SADC observer mission but to also take into account the well documented flaws in the democratic process.”
He said the summit will be an opportunity for SADC to remind member states of the guidelines and principles that are used as standards for elections in the region.
The NGOs, who recently held crisis talks in Botswana, want the controversial Zimbabwean polls to be tabled at the summit in Malawi, even though SADC has declared that the elections were free and credible.
“We are mobilizing a lot of NGOs to endorse our petition. And other than the protests, which will be held at the parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday and other protest marches that we have arranged across the region, we are also working with partners in the region that have links to SADC to apply more pressure in terms of the demands that we are articulating,” Ndebele said.
He said there are 10 countries that have so far endorsed the petition, including 30 NGOs.