By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 December 2012
With the political parties in Zimbabwe’s unity government deadlocked again over the content of a new charter, Zim exiles in the UK plan to deliver a petition at the South African High Commission on Saturday.
The Zimbabwe Vigil group told SW Radio Africa that they will submit a letter calling on President Jacob Zuma, as the chief negotiator on the Zim crisis, to put pressure on Robert Mugabe to stop his delaying tactics over a new constitution.
Negotiators from the three main political parties agreed on a draft that they all signed, in full consultation with their party leaders. This COPAC draft was used at the 2nd All stakeholders Conference, but ZANU PF is demanding that more changes be made to the draft, insisting it does not reflect the will of the people.
The Vigil said they believe ZANU PF “is deliberately dragging its feet to prevent reforms before new elections as provided for in the Global Political Agreement of 2008”. The petition to Zuma will demand an end to these delays.
Vigil coordinator, Dennis Benton told SW Radio Africa that a letter will accompany the petition to President Zuma, congratulating him on his recent re-election as ANC leader. Benton said they hope Zuma will now have more time to devote to his regional obligations as mediator for Zimbabwe.
“We believe your intervention is needed now more than ever as ZANU PF is determined to block any progress. More than 3 million Zimbabweans have been forced from our country, many of them in South Africa. We long to return home but can do so only after free and fair elections have freed us from bondage,” the letter says.
Benton explained that without intervention, the crisis would continue to drag on because there is no political will to resolve it.
“ZANU PF will continue to delay. They will delay forever because they don’t want elections. In fact I don’t think any politicians in Zimbabwe want elections. They want to stick to their jobs forever and not risk losing out on the gravy train, especially now that they are rolling in cash from the diamonds,” Benton said.
The petition to Zuma has been signed by nearly 5,000 people who stopped by the Vigil group’s Saturday demos. It was organised as part of the “21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protests”, which have been held around the 21st of every month since January of this year.
The protests always have a theme and, according to Benton, this time they want to highlight “the suffering of ordinary people in Zimbabwe at Christmas while the country’s political leaders loot the country’s resources”.
The Vigil group have been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past ten years, come rain or shine. They disseminate information on Zimbabwe’s plight to passersby from countries all over the world and highlight issues that are key to solving the crisis.