PROTESTS HAUL ZIM BACK INTO SPOTLIGHT | The spate of protests that have rocked Zimbabwe are set to bring the country back into the regional and international spotlight, political commentators said.


They said organisations like Sadc and the United Nations (UN) are increasingly getting compelled to intervene in the deepening Zimbabwe crisis.This comes as the United Nations — expected to hold a summit in September — on Friday said it is closely monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe.Also, last week a group of respected Elders — including former United Nations secretary-general Kofi Anan, Nelson Mandela’s widow Graca Machel and Desmond Tutu — wrote to Sadc petitioning the regional block to intervene in the deepening Zimbabwe crisis and more importantly facilitate a smooth transition of power.

Sadc heads of State are set to meet tomorrow in Swaziland to discuss issues affecting the region, among other issues.Social commentator Elliot Pfebve said the Sadc region is worried and so is the AU and UN, adding that is the reason why “The Elders have urged the Sadc meeting in Swaziland to find a transitional solution to the Zimbabwean political crisis”.

“In view of such momentum and the success of the petition to the UK Prime Minister, we Zimbabweans are now petitioning Sadc heads of State to engage with stakeholders and pave way for a National Transitional Authority,” Pfebve said, adding that “we are the people!”

He further stated that “such a united voice calling for an end to the (President Robert) Mugabe era can only be ignored at their peril. We are entering a seismic optimum point of people power, unstoppable and unyielding.”

Political commentator Mcdonald Lewanika said Sadc and the UN need to read the signs and take the escalating protests as an early warning sign of the heightening crisis in Zimbabwe.“As such, these international bodies must increase the costs of repression on Mugabe’s regime and demand that it finds civil ways of engaging with and dealing with the discontent of its citizens,” he said.

He said “based on history we know that the regime, as it has already shown, will continue to take heavy-handed action, but with some activists and citizens beginning to fight back, there is no telling where the country eventually ends up”.Lewanika said the on-going demonstrations that the police are unsuccessfully trying to quash are an important indicator of the dire state of affairs in the country.

“Although they are still relatively small, they count as an indication of the disaffection that people have with the State and the government must not only be concerned but take action to address the challenges that citizens and political parties are highlighting.”

“It is only an uncaring leader who remains unfazed in the face of such loss of trust by those he presides over,” said Lewanika.Political commentator Blessing Vava said the protestors’ strategy could be to put Zimbabwe on the world agenda, noting the upcoming Sadc meeting.

“It is to be seen if the momentum is going to be maintained because my worry though is the demos, though good, are failing to attract a critical mass to shake off the regime,” he said.However, activist Farai Maguwu said “in the end, the solution shall not come from Sadc or the UN but by Zimbabweans themselves”.

“A poor government is weak and vulnerable and what we are seeing is a testing of the waters by pro-democracy activists,” he said.