Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
A plan by opposition-linked and foreign-sponsored civil society organisations from Zimbabwe to smear the country at the Sadc Summit in Tanzania tomorrow has been unearthed after the activists travelled to Dar es Salaam to lobby for Harare to be placed on the regional bloc’s agenda.
President Mnangagwa is supposed take over as chair of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, and some well-known allies of the opposition have sought to poison the development through staging demonstrations and conducting seminars meant to set an anti-Zimbabwe agenda in the east African setting of the regional meeting.
The group travelled to Tanzania on Tuesday this week under the banner, Southern African People Solidarity Network, whose theme is: “Rebuilding people’s movement within Southern Africa’s climate, political and socio-economic emergencies: Towards radical democratic alternative and just transition.”
Some reports indicated that the group could receive training in insurgency.
The group is comprised of Nqobizitha Mlambo from Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, Clayton Manjova (Heal Zimbabwe Trust), Lloyd Sesemani (artisanal miner), Michael Ndiweni (BVTA and Youth NAD), Foster Thole (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Blessing Vava (Crisis in Zimbabwe) Joy Mabenge (Action Aid), Tinashe Madondo (Family Aids Caring Trust) and Cloud Fusire, a university student.
Others are Thulani Mswelanto (Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition), Charles Kataure (ZNNP+), Phakamani Moyo (PATA), Ropafadzo Sandra Shoko (a law student), Lydia Dhliwayo (Zimcodd), Confidence Bobo (Zimcodd) and Margarety Nyakuhwa (FACT).
Mr Mlambo is also said to be the brain and strategist for the notorious MDC-Alliance youth wing — the Vanguard — which has been terrorising political rivals within the party, including former deputy president Ms Thokozani Khupe.
Questions have also been raised over the source of funding of such a huge entourage in foreign land, with sources saying a third force was bankrolling them.
“The group is here in Tanzania where they intend to hold an illegal demonstration aimed at humiliating President Mnangagwa so that Sadc would place Zimbabwe on its agenda.
“There is also heavy lobbying to scuttle Zimbabwe’s assumption of the chairmanship of the Sadc Organ. Authorities here have also questioned them on reports that they were trained in banditry and subversion,” said a source in Tanzania.
Contacted for comment, Mr Vava confirmed that they were in Tanzania where he said they wanted to present a petition to Sadc over the situation in Zimbabwe. He denied that they were trained in banditry and subversion.
“That’s fiction, we are here to attend the Sadc Peoples Summit, which is a grouping of social movements from across the region, to discuss issues of social economic justice affecting us. At no point have we organised a demonstration, and there are no plans to do so, but rather we will submit a petition pertaining to the outcomes of our summit.
“We are peace-loving and law-abiding citizens and have never been or intend to train to do banditry,” said Mr Vava from Tanzania.