CIVICUS calls upon African leaders to take a firm stand on Zimbabwean crisis

CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation and the Global Call to Action against Poverty express their deep concern at the recent events in Zimbabwe. Gross violations of human and democratic rights enshrined in the African Charter of Human and People's Rights by Mr Mugabe's regime need not only strong condemnation but also urgent action by Heads of State and Government in Africa.

By throttling legitimate dissent, Mr Mugabe is leading his country and its people down a path of self destruction. We believe it is the responsibility of every Member State in the African Union to urgently put a stop to Mr Mugabe's anti-democratic activities and protect the people of Zimbabwe who in addition to being citizens of their own country are also constituents of the African Union. In the past, Mr Mugabe has been emboldened to carry out his campaign to repress democratic opposition due to a perceived belief that his fellow Heads of State and Government will not oppose him strongly for his misguided actions within the country.

We believe that the time for quiet backroom diplomacy has passed and it is time for African leaders to play a more active role in resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe. To reiterate the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jr, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'.

In these perilous times, African leaders must rise to the occasion and prevent Mr Mugabe from further persecuting independent voices and those who oppose his political beliefs. 'Political niceties cannot be an excuse to condone gross and flagrant violations of the rule of law. History will judge us harshly if we do not act now' said Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of CIVICUS urging all African leaders to agree on concrete action to restore constitutionality in Zimbabwe as they meet at the African Union Summit in Egypt.


Editors note:

For more information, contact CIVICUS Civil Society Watch programme:

- Name: Mandeep Tiwana
- Tel: +27-11- 833 5959, 07146 98121 (mob)
- www.civicus.org.