photo by jon nicholson

news - Southern Africa Urged to Pressure Mugabe on ‘Abuses’

november 4th, 2009

"Southern African leaders will hold talks tomorrow on the political impasse in Zimbabwe, amid calls by human-rights activists to press President Robert Mugabe’s party to end rights abuses.

The so-called security troika of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community will meet in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, Mozambique’s presidency said in an e-mailed statement today. Mugabe, along with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, will attend the talks, it said.

The meeting comes after Tsvangirai last month withdrew his Movement for Democratic Change party from an eight-month-old power-sharing government with Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front. The withdrawal followed disputes over government appointments made by Mugabe and alleged violence directed at MDC officials.

'Recent reports that ZANU-PF continues to arrest and harass human rights and civil society activists should act as a warning to the regional leaders that Zimbabwe may slide back into violence and chaos if they do not take decisive action,' Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in an e-mailed statement today.

On Nov. 2, Mordecai Mahlangu, a human-rights lawyer, was arrested by the authorities in the capital, Harare, for protesting the use of testimony extracted through torture in a trial, Gagnon said. Last month, two civil society leaders were arrested in Victoria Falls for calling for SADC to intervene to ensure a power-sharing agreement signed in February is fully implemented, she said."

MORE: "Southern Africa Urged to Pressure Mugabe on ‘Abuses’" (Bloomberg)

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