Zimbabweans in SA stand united against Zanu PF violence

JOHANNESBURG – Hundreds of Zimbabweans from various political parties, civil rights groups and individuals held a rare solidarity march in Johannesburg at the weekend, demanding an end to President Robert Mugabe’s unchecked reign of terror in Zimbabwe.

The well over 500 marchers, who converged in Sandton and marched to the Sandton Convention Centre, where SADC leaders met to discuss Zimbabwe’s political crisis, called on the regional bloc to sanction Mugabe and his Zanu PF party should they continue their obstinacy that inhibits democratic reforms in the country.

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The marchers comprised members of the mainstream MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the one led by Professor Welshman Ncube, Zapu, Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) and several civil rights organizations.

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At the end of the procession, the Zimbabweans presented a petition to South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, who is the SADC’s point man in Zimbabwe.
Among a number of contentious issues, the Zimbabweans demanded an end to political violence that continues to be unleashed by Mugabe’s supporters on ordinary Zimbabweans, a clear roadmap ahead of elections and the Diaspora vote for Zimbabwean expatriates.

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Ngqabutho Dube, secretary of the Ncube-led MDC, said Zimbabwe would not move an inch in its democratic reforms if it did not craft a clear, SADC-guided election roadmap.

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“We want a clear roadmap that will be agreed by all political parties within and outside the national unity government,” said Dube.

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“Civil rights groups, churches and all other Zimbabwean bodies must have a say in the roadmap that is going to be prepared for Zimbabwe to move forward and only until such a step has been taken can we start talking about elections in Zimbabwe.

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We also want the millions of Zimbabweans that are based in the Diaspora to be included in all elective processes that happen in Zimbabwe, including the referendum for the new constitution because these are the people that have kept the country afloat with their remittances back home, so they cannot be left out of shaping their country.”

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Kumbirai Muchemwa, South African spokesman of the Tsvangirai-led MDC echoed the same sentiments on the Diaspora vote, adding that Zimbabweans are crying for freedom in their country, which has been held at ransom by forces loyal to Mugabe for “too long” since independence in 1980.

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“The SADC has clear guidelines on the holding of free and fair elections and we want to see Zimbabwe being forced to adhere to those set minimum standards. Zimbabweans are tired of political violence, stolen elections and the usurping of the people’s will. We want elections to be held in a conducive atmosphere,” said Muchemwa.

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Zapu SA demanded a return to civilian authority in Zimbabwe, where the public will leave in no fear of the military and its backlash on those who voted against Mugabe.

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“Zapu fought for a proper emancipation of the people, not another form of colonialism where one party or a certain clique is to be held supreme over everybody else.

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We want the de-militarization of Zimbabwe and call for the removal of soldiers from the people and their confinement to the barracks because Zimbabwe is not at war. Zimbabwe must all begin to respect the rule of law and respect for human dignity, regardless or race, tribe and religion. We want peace, democracy and prosperity for all Zimbabweans.”