Johannesburg - There could be a “democratic deficit” in the SADC under the chairmanship of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe,” the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said on Wednesday.
“We strongly feel that SADC still has a role to play in Zimbabwe, especially in demanding urgent democratic reforms as provided for in the country’s new Constitution that came into force on 22 August 2013,” it said in a statement.
The region was likely to suffer a “democratic deficit” under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe, who would be chair until August 2015.
The coalition said it was grateful to the South African government for introducing a new “permit regime” for Zimbabwean migrants living in the country.
“Whilst we welcome the new dispensation, we would like to remind the South African government that Zimbabwe’s political and economic crises are far from resolved,” it said.
“We demand guarantees of orderly and constitutional succession in Zimbabwe and decisive action on the land question, starting with a comprehensive land audit, which is long overdue.”
It called for a halt to farm invasions, property rights to be respected, and the rule of law to be observed.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders needed to “demonstrate commitment to the rule of law and respect for human rights by immediately resuscitating the SADC tribunal”.
“SADC should press for human rights improvement across the region, particularly those countries with an unflattering human rights record such as Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe,” the coalition said.
Attempts to reach Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba were not successful.