BY MOSES MATENGA
THE opposition MDC Alliance has pleaded with the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to put Zimbabwe on its agenda for the next summit, arguing that the situation in the country was ripe for regional intervention following recent alleged State-assisted human rights abuses and abductions.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday chaired an extra-ordinary summit of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation to discuss the security situation in Mozambique.
Mozambique is under threat from an Islamic insurgency operating in northern Cabo Delgado province and has pleaded for regional support.
Zambian President Edgar Lungu, who is the immediate-past troika chair and incoming chairperson Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, as well as their Mozambican counterpart Filipe Jacinto Nyusi attended.
The meeting came shortly after three MDC Alliance officials including Harare West MP Joanah Mamombe were allegedly abducted, tortured and dumped at a roadside at Muchapondwa business centre in Bindura.
MDC secretary for international relations Gladys Hlatywayo said, while Zimbabwe was bound to assist Mozambique because of the historical relations, there was also need to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the regional bloc because of its unending history of abductions.
“Zimbabwe must also be on the Sadc agenda for threatening regional peace,” Hlatywayo said.
“It is unfortunate that Zimbabwe is currently heading the troika at a time it also needs direction from the same organ in light of the tragic failure of leadership exhibited by an increase in State-sponsored human rights violations.
“These include the latest abduction, sexual assault and inhumane and degrading treatment of our three youth leaders, the severe assaults of the two Bulawayo women, and the death of Levison Ncube as a result of injuries sustained from beatings by the police.”
Hlatywayo called on the regional body not to overlook the growing tension in Zimbabwe which could threaten regional stability.
In its preliminary report, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) said it was satisfied that the three MDC Alliance activists’ rights were abused.
“However, even at this preliminary stage the ZHRC is categorical that this violence against women runs parallel to the right to peaceful existence as enshrined in Article 10 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (Maputo Protocol).
“The Maputo Protocol emphasises that every woman has the right to human dignity and is entitled to respect for her life, integrity and security of person. It also calls for punishment for the perpetrators of violence against women.”
The ZHRC added: “Preliminary investigations have not yet ascertained the identities of the alleged abductors, but the Commission condemns in the strongest terms such heinous acts of enforced disappearances, torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment as well as all other forms of violence against women, which are prohibited by section 53 of the Constitution.”
The commission said abductions were a serious human rights violation, but also called on the MDC Alliance to respect the country’s laws and avoid protests during lockdowns. The commission said the activists were, nonetheless still entitled to be treated with dignity.
Meanwhile, a communiqué released after the Sadc troika meeting concluded that the political situation in the region was relatively stable except for the situation obtaining in Mozambique.
“The Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit plus Mozambique strongly condemned the armed attacks and acts of sabotage perpetrated by the terrorists and armed groups in some districts of Cabo Delgado province,” the communiqué read in part.
“The Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit plus Mozambique committed and urged Sadc member States to support the government of Mozambique in fighting the terrorists and armed groups in some districts of Cabo Delgado.”
The meeting also noted developments in Lesotho where the country’s Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, after months of pressure over his alleged involvement in the murder of his estranged wife, resigned and called for a peaceful transfer of power in the kingdom.