Felex Share Senior Reporter—
UNITED Nations Secretary-General Mr António Guterres yesterday called for calm and preservation of human rights following the political and socio-economic stabilisation intervention by the Zimbabwe Defence Forces on Wednesday. This comes as the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation met in Botswana yesterday and called for the settling of differences in a peaceful manner.Sadc also called for the convening of an urgent Extraordinary Summit, a development observers said was akin to jumping the gun given that the ZDF was intervening in an internal party not State matter. Zanu-PF is not party to Sadc. The ZDF took corrective measures early Wednesday morning as they sought to pacify a “degenerating political, social and economic situation in the country which, if left unchecked, would have resulted in violent conflict”.
The process was executed in a peaceful manner. Business has continued normally around the country with shops, banks, transport operators and other service providers operating normally. There were no reports of violence. Civil servants are also reporting for duty without hindrance. Mr Guterres’ deputy spokesperson, Mr Farhan Haq, said they were gathering information on the developments.
“The Secretary-General has been monitoring the evolving situation in Zimbabwe. He appeals for calm, non-violence and restraint. Preservation of fundamental rights including freedom of speech and assembly is of vital importance,” he said. Mr Haq added: “The Secretary-General stresses the importance of resolving political differences through peaceful means and dialogue and in line with the country’s Constitution.”
In a communique, the Sadc Troika said: “Sadc Organ Troika noted with great concern the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe. Sadc Organ Troika further reaffirmed the need for Sadc member states to remain guided by their constitutions. Sadc Organ Troika called upon all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to settle the political challenges through peaceful means.”
African Union chairperson and Guinea President Alpha Conde said: “The AU immediately calls for the restoration of constitutional order and calls on all stakeholders to show responsibility and restraint, to ensure respect for lives, fundamental freedoms and integrity of Zimbabwe. We demand respect for the Constitution, a return to the constitutional order and we will never accept the military coup d’etat.”
The ZDF are on record as saying there was no military take-over in Zimbabwe as they reaffirmed their allegiance to the Commander-in-Chief, the Head of State and Government, President Mugabe.
African Union Commission chairperson Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat said they were closely following developments. He urged all stakeholders to address the current situation in accordance with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and relevant instruments of the AU. Mr Mahamat said it was crucial that the “crisis” be resolved in a manner that promotes democracy and human rights, as well as the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe.
He added that the AU was working closely with Sadc and regional leaders to come up with a workable solution in Zimbabwe. China dismissed reports that ZDF Commander, General Constantino Chiwenga, who was in the Asian country recently, had visited to discuss a military coup in the country. China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Mr Geng Shuang, said Gen Chiwenga’s visit was a normal military exchange.
“What I can tell you is that his visit was a normal military exchange as agreed by the two countries,” he said. Zimbabweans, churches, trade unions, business community and opposition political parties have welcomed the intervention by the uniformed forces saying it was done in the spirit of national interest and security. Legal experts weighed in saying the intervention was in accordance with the dictates and tenets of the Constitution and in respect of Sadc and AU security protocols. There has been no bloodshed and peace has been prevailing.