The ministry of international relations yesterday said it would respect the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocols before pronouncing itself on the unfolding political situation in Zimbabwe. Many SADC countries, including Namibia, have been under pressure to publicly speak out against the Zimbabwe government’s alleged crackdown on peaceful anti-corruption protests.
The protests have resulted in the arrest and abduction of activists, journalists and members of the opposition.
“Within SADC, we have mechanisms in place established to deal with issues affecting member states in between summits, such as regional integration, economic development, and peace and security, among others,” acting executive director Rebecca Iyambo said in a statement.
“Namibia respects the established SADC institutions, including the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, which is mandated with the authority to take decisions and make recommendations to the SADC Summit on matters pertaining to peace and security in the region. Namibia will respect and abide by those SADC protocols.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa this week warned he would “flush” out political opponents protesting against alleged state corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
Zimbabweans in Namibia were also barred from taking part in a protest march last Friday. The ACTION Coalition this week also pleaded with President Hage Geingob and AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to act in the interests of human rights in Zimbabwe.
“As a coalition of Namibian human rights and media organisations, we condemn the recent arrests, kidnappings, beatings and harassment of Zimbabwean civil society activists protesting against corruption and journalists exposing it,” read the statement issued by Frederico Links.
“The crackdown by the Zimbabwean government has seen the arrest of investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono on 20 July on charges of “inciting public violence” after he merely amplified the investigative report by Zimlive’s Mduduzi Mathuthu.