Geingob castigated over Zim

The SADC chair had claimed that Western-funded NGOs were behind the current political, economic and humanitarian challenges afflicting the neighbouring country.

21 February 2019 | International

The 'Concerned Citizens of Zimbabwe' has criticised President Hage Geingob for his recent statement on the political and socio-economic situation in the neighbouring country.

During a consultative meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government, held on 9 February in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Geingob who is the current SADC chairperson, issued a statement blaming NGOs and perceived external forces for destabilising Zimbabwe.

This followed the killing of 12 protesters by the army and police last month after a three-day stay-away organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) turned violent. The protest was triggered by massive fuel price hikes.

The world, including the United Nations, condemned the ugly scenes in Zimbabwe and called on the authorities in Harare to use restraint when responding to protests

“SADC expresses its solidarity with the government and the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and calls upon the international community to unconditionally lift all sanctions imposed on the country,” Geingob said in his statement.

He also claimed Western-funded NGOs were behind the current political, economic and humanitarian challenges afflicting the country.

However, the 'Concerned Citizens of Zimbabwe' described Geingob's statement last week as being devoid of historical context and a complete mischaracterisation of the prevailing situation in Zimbabwe.

“It is unclear if there was any investigation conducted by SADC into the current situation. What we do know is SADC did not meet with victims or speak to anyone other than the government of Zimbabwe. It is appalling that without doing proper diligence the chairperson, His Excellency Dr Hage G Geingob thought it appropriate to issue such a conclusive and reckless statement,” the group said in its one-page statement.

The group said that Geingob's statement is not only ignorant of the realities on the ground, but a complete insult to the intelligence of Zimbabweans.

“It is shocking that SADC has so little faith in the intelligence and foresight of Zimbabweans and our understanding of our constitutional rights enshrined in the constitution of 2013, which incidentally the current government has failed to completely align to the laws.

“We as Zimbabweans understand our own plight. We do not need external forces to tell us, we cannot afford fuel for US$3.31 US dollars when over 95% of us are not working in any form of formal employment and living on less than a dollar a day. To add insult to injury, the government destroyed produce and other products sold by the informal sector.”

The group added that Zimbabweans understand sacrifice and have sacrificed too much for their nation, like lost pensions and money in the bank, to incoherent government monetary policies “and we continue to sacrifice as we foot the price tag for President Emmerson Mnangagwa's exorbitant travel costs”.

“When Geingob and SADC blame sanctions for our problems, is SADC also blaming sanctions for Emmerson Mnangagwa's violent reactions to citizens' demonstrations, which resulted in killing, raping and sodomising civilians?

“Is SADC justifying state-sanctioned brutality and accepting that street justice is a normal and that SADC will co-sign? Respectfully Geingob, it is evident that the only word that matters to SADC is the word of Emmerson Mnangagwa's Zanu-PF government, so when expressing solidarity SADC must make it clear that your solidarity is with the brutal Zimbabwean government and not the people of Zimbabwe, who were not consulted before the misguided and ill-conceived SADC statement was issued.

“If it was up to us, the citizens of Zimbabwe, one of our austerity measures would be to remove ourselves from being part of an organisation that does not serve our interests because our tax dollars are being wasted in payment of dues to fund an organisation that enables our suffering and goes against our values. The group added that the people of Zimbabwe are not the least bit deterred by the ignorance of SADC leaders and their lack morality. Namibian Sun could not establish whether President Geingob has received or read the statement, as his spokesperson Alfredo Hengari did not respond to a text message sent to his mobile phone.

Eliaser Ndeyanale

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