Minister of State Cornelia Pieper issued the following statement today (1 April) on the increasingly tense domestic situation in Zimbabwe:
“Domestic tensions in Zimbabwe have risen considerably of late, prompting serious concern. Numerous arrests, the persecution of politicians and human rights activists, the banning of demonstrations, acts of provocation including two random arrests of the internationally well-regarded Energy Minister Elton Mangoma all of these things have poisoned Zimbabwe’s political atmosphere and taken a toll on the work of the coalition government. These developments endanger the considerable economic and social progress which the country has made in the two years since Morgan Tsvangirai assumed the office of Prime Minister.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), as the guarantor of the Global Political Agreement between Zimbabwe’s political parties signed on 15 September 2008 and of the government of national unity formed on its basis, has a special role to play in further developments in Zimbabwe.
That is why I welcome the clear language in which the SADC peace and security Troika addressed the Zimbabwean parties during its meeting yesterday in Livingstone. Zimbabwe’s neighbours have rightfully called upon the government in Harare at last to rapidly implement all aspects of the power-sharing agreement and to forego violence, smear campaigns and political intimidation. I am confident that a precise road map for writing a constitution and for moving towards new elections is an important and promising step on the country’s path to a better future, as is the SADC’s intended support of Zimbabwe’s Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC). The SADC will have a central role to play in the preparation and carrying out of free and fair elections in order to avoid future crises in Zimbabwe and the region.”