THE African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been admonished for their ‘quiet diplomacy’ on the ongoing army crackdown on civilians in Zimbabwe.
Thousands of people have been brutalised while 78 are being treated for gunshot wounds and 12 people died, as the security forces used force to quell protests triggered by fuel price hikes announced by President Mnangagwa earlier this month.
Speaking from his base in Johannesburg, chairperson of the African Diaspora Forum (ADF), Dr Vusumuzi Sibanda, told CITE the gross human rights violations that have seen many flee to neighbouring countries have been down played by authorities and regional blocs.
“These will soon be forgotten until another incident happens and the fire burns for a couple of minutes and dies out and yet many forced migrants will remain in hiding and suffering in other countries,” he said while calling for a responsible African leadership.
ADF is a migrant related organisation that caters for the welfare of migrants in Africa and joins the long queue of human rights organisations and civic organisations that have strongly condemned the brutalisation of civilians by security forces.
Reports allege that over 130 000 Zimbabweans have fled the country to South Africa ever since the army launched the crackdown a fortnight ago.
“We implore the AU, SADC and South Africa, which is an economic powerhouse in Africa, to come out in the open and condemn the acts of the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa that kills with impunity and does so repeatedly over and over and over again,” Dr Sibanda said.
He noted that the principle of quiet diplomacy was unhelpful as people have been suffering for decades.
“People of Zimbabwe have been killed since the 1980s and to-date and yet no one dares protect them or bring to order the Zanu PF government, of course because of the ‘sovereignty’ clause yet South Africa has become an unofficial surrogate country to Zimbabwe,” he lamented.
ADF said it was aggrieved by the trivialisation of the loss of human life and the lack of commitment by African leaders in solving the crisis.
“We are appalled by the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe over the last week. The truth of the matter is that as the African Diaspora Forum, we are aggrieved. Human life is necessary collateral damage to show that governments can deal with dissention. It is our sincere hope that Africa can look in the mirror and be frank with the African modus operandi on its politics, human rights record, and deal with it honestly and truthfully.
“We extend our condolences to all those who lost their loved ones and our sympathies are with those that are hospitalised and our prayers to those that still have no clue where their missing relatives are,” the chairman said.
The AU has often received criticism for shying away from problematic issues while SADC has not done much to arbitrate in conflicts that take place in the southern part of Africa.