Military Action by Zimbabwe in the DRC

We are most concerned that the President continues to commit Zimbabwean troops to even greater military involvement in the DRC without any consultation with the people of Zimbabwe. Originally troops were sent to prevent the imminent downfall of the Kabila Government in response to an OAU resolution preventing the deposing of governments by military means.

Zimbabwean troops were committed in the DRC conflict by the President without the authority of Parliament nor, it is understand, the authority of or endorsement by Cabinet. In terms of Section 96 of the Zimbabwean Constitution, the President may declare war on a foreign state carrying out acts prejudicial to the security of Zimbabwe. The situation in the DRC does not fall into this category.

We are concerned to know what exact mandates have been given by SADC and the OAU for actions concerning the DRC, and, specifically, the Government should publish the exact text of all the relevant resolutions or minutes of the mandating meetings of the OAU and SADC.

Many Zimbabweans strongly believe that it is wrong for our forces to be deployed in the DRC in support of a leader who himself came to power by military means, has a dreadful human rights record and who has singularly failed to allow processes of democratic governance after coming to power. In support of this, the report of the UN Special Rapporteur to the UN Commission on Human Rights, under the title Report on the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo(former Zaire) documents that severe human rights abuses are continuing under Kabila.

Civil society requests the Zimbabwean Government to cease supporting a regime against which severe allegations of human rights violations have been established. Furthermore, with the parlous state of the economy, Zimbabwe cannot afford an expensive military adventure in the DRC which it is widely believed, holds business opportunities for some members of the political and military elite in Zimbabwe.

Without a mandate from Parliament, Zimbabwean troops are now being deployed in the eastern portion of the DRC which could result in a greater number of casualties and enormous financial cost. We are concerned about the lack of transparency in disclosing the exact number of Zimbabwean casualties.

We believe the people of Zimbabwe have the democratic right to decide whether this military intervention in the Congo is justifiable. While appreciating the need for peace to be restored in the DRC and a lasting solution, this must involve democratic elections, guarantees of freedom for minorities against human rights abuses and serious peace negotiations under international neutral peacekeeping forces.

We call on Parliament to insist on a full debate on this issue after Parliamentarians have consulted with their constituents.

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Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.