By Alex Bell
SW Radio Africa
9 August 2013
There is growing pressure on the SADC regional bloc to rescind its acceptance of Zimbabwe’s flawed election process and uphold its commitments to democracy, with Zimbabweans around the world protesting the situation.
A series of protests have been organised against last week’s disputed election, with demonstrations planned in South Africa, the UK and the US.
In South Africa on Friday, scores of Zimbabweans and South Africans gathered in the town of Port Elizabeth to demonstrate against the election outcome, which the organisers said does not reflect the will of the people.
Zimbabwean businessman Rodrick Chimombe, one of the organisers, told SW Radio Africa that the protest attracted “about 300 people who marched from the SA breweries building to the municipal offices to hand over a petition.”
He explained that the petition calls on Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s President, to “reverse his acceptance of the poll result.” Chimombe said the regional endorsement of the elections had left people angry and shocked, “because the process cannot be said to be free and fair and credible.”
The protest on Friday is the first in a series that Chimombe said are being organised. The next demonstration is set to take place next Saturday and if people want more information they can call +27 73 916 8831.
Another group of Zimbabweans in South Africa have organised a protest in Cape Town, which will get underway next Wednesday afternoon. That protest will see a petition being handed to the South Africa speaker of Parliament, Max Sisulu, calling on the government not to accept the flawed election process.
The petition can be signed online: https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Democracy_in_Zimbabwe/
One of the organisers, Joe Eppel, told SW Radio Africa he hopes this protest will encourage others to organise similar events, because of the serious threat the endorsement of the election poses to democracy in the region.
“Both the protest and the petition started when we (the organisers) got together and decided that as Zimbabweans abroad, we should take some kind of stand against SADC’s endorsement of the election, which is so clearly flawed. We decided that we should try have some kind of protest to place pressure on Jacob Zuma and SADC not to endorse these elections,” Eppel said.
He added: We feel the elections violate our new constitution and electoral laws and by endorsing these elections, SADC is basically ignoring the long struggle for democracy and the future struggle for democracy we are facing,
The details of the event can be read here: https://www.facebook.com/events/204810623015970/
Meanwhile in the UK on Saturday, Zimbabwean citizens will be protesting what they say is a “rigged election.” The protests will be happening across the UK, with the main demonstration taking place outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in London.
One of the organisers, activist Fungayi Mabhunu, told SW Radio Arica that they are “trying to kick start a revolution in the Diaspora.” He said similar protests are also taking place on Saturday in the US.
The London protest is taking place from 12pm to 6pm.