Gladys Hlatshwayo, Secretary for International Relations of the MDC Alliance, called on SADC, which has expressed concern over acts of violence in Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to “pay equal attention to the worsening crisis and politics in Zimbabwe”.
“We urge SADC to intervene urgently in Zimbabwe in accordance with the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security to maintain regional peace and security,” Hlatshwayo said in a statement. after the annual virtual SADC summit to discuss, inter alia, the peace and security situation in the region.
The MDC Alliance call comes amid reports of alleged human rights violations by the military that has been deployed to contain the spread of the coronavirus as well as to quell anti-government protests over the past month.
Human rights groups say dozens of opposition supporters, lawyers and other anti-government activists have been arrested, harassed or kidnapped by security forces over the past month.
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa was until Monday the chairman of the SADC body on politics, defense and security that deals with mediation and conflict resolution in the regional bloc.
Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi has taken over the rotating presidency of the regional bloc, but Mnangagwa remains there under the troika system, whereby the outgoing president continues to serve on the body for an additional year.
This means that appeals from the Zimbabwean opposition for SADC intervention are unlikely to receive a positive response.
The delegation sent to Harare last week by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to investigate the deteriorating political situation left without being allowed to meet with the opposition.