Statement on Zimbabwe
Monday 11 October 2004 by Dale
PRESS STATEMENT, MONDAY 11TH OCTOBER 2004
MUGABE REGIME’S LATEST REPRESSIVE LEGISLATION IN ZIMBABWE SET TO CLOSE DOWN WHAT LITTLE SPACE IS LEFT FOR PUBLIC DEBATE AND DEMOCRATIC ACTION!
SUPPORT & SOLIDARITY TO THE STRUGGLING PEOPLE OF ZIMBABWE
Our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe continue to suffer at the hands of a dictatorial regime intent on destroying any vestige of popular democracy and socio-economic well being for the vast majority of the citizens of that country. The latest attack launched by the Mugabe regime on basic freedoms is the NGO Act that has recently been presented to the Zimbabwean Parliament. It is but the latest in a series of manufactured legal constraints imposed on the people of Zimbabwe by a regime that has become intolerant of any criticism and dissent. The NGO Act, when enacted, will do to Zimbabwean civil society what AIPPA (Access to Information and the Protection of Privacy Act) did to the print media and the BSA (Broadcasting Services Act) did to the electronic media. Coupled with the draconian POSA (Public Order & Security Act) which places severe restrictions on the constitutional right of freedom of association and assembly, the NGO Act represents nothing less than the closing down of what little space is left for public debate and democratic activity, a development that has the potential to drive Zimbabweans to seek other, extra-legal, solutions to their crisis.
Our historical and more contemporary experience in South Africa convinces us of the need for vibrant, independent and progressive organs of civil society. Trade unions, social movements, community civics and progressive NGOs played an essential role in the defeat of the apartheid regime and in keeping alive the spirit of popular democracy, economic justice and social liberation and continue today, in new forms, to uphold that tradition and to act as vehicles for the voices of the poor and marginalized.
For all freedom loving people in our region, continent and across the world, one thing must be clear - Mugabe did not liberate Zimbabwe; Zimbabweans did with the help of many people inside the country, in Southern Africa and abroad. Mugabe’s somewhat limited and chequered contribution to that struggle does not confer a divine right to reign in perpetuity and to terrorise the people of that country. It is high time that South Africans unbundle the ’liberation’ mythology of Mugabe and seek a much clearer understanding of this megalomaniac who has literally destroyed the hopes and dreams of an entire nation in the name of completing a self-constructed and self-serving ’national liberation struggle’.
We call upon all South Africans to open their eyes to the creeping fascism and very real repression that is the reality of present-day Zimbabwe. Let us not be fooled by the demagogic victim syndrome and vacuous anti-imperialist rhetoric of Mugabe and his crony regime. Let us listen to the people of Zimbabwe, including those hundreds of thousands that have been forced into political and economic exile in our own country. Let us demand that the South African government show moral courage, political honesty and human solidarity towards the suffering people of Zimbabwe and act now to do all it can to ensure that this, and other, repressive legislation is stopped in its tracks.
The people of Zimbabwe contributed enormously to South Africa’s struggle for freedom and they deserve the full support of South Africans in their own struggle to regain a freedom that has been brutally assaulted and raped, in their own name. Let us not allow the people of Zimbabwe to be sacrificed on an altar of lies, expediency, personal egos and elite accumulation. Silence is the voice of complicity!
PHANSI THE MUGABE REGIME! POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
For further comment/information, contact Dale McKinley on 072 429-4086