August 15, 2022
Australian Delegation visits grassroots development projects, calls for peacebuilding, end to sanctions, and international support for economic recovery
The Zimbabwe Information Centre (ZIC) in Australia has been supporting democracy, good governance, social justice, gender equity and environmental sustainability in Zimbabwe since it was set up in June 1999. ZIC’s local partner organisation is the Zimbabwe Peacebuilding Initiative (ZimPI). ZimPI and ZIC operate with the Commonwealth Latimer House Principles which encourage governments to work in conjunction with civil society and grassroots communities to fill the gaps in service to the people.
Two members of the ZIC Committee have just completed a 9-day visit to Harare to assess grassroots projects which ZIC has been supporting, and to meet other potential partner organisations. This will enable ZIC to update its workplan for 2023.
The Australian Ambassador hosted a reception for the ZIC delegates, the ZimPI Network Team and the organisations they network with.
“We are optimistic for the people of Zimbabwe because of the level of economic activity and the hard work of the communities and their organisations we witnessed during our visit, despite the extreme hardships these communities experience,” said ZIC Committee member Graham Chuck. “The issue of corruption should be addressed so that the economy performs better. We are encouraged that people whom we spoke to had great hope for the future of this great country.
“The international community should assist this by cancelling the sanctions regime that applied in the late Mugabe era. These sanctions are no longer ‘targeted’, but now hold back ordinary Zimbabweans everywhere,” said Mr Chuck.
“We found widespread apprehension about the possibility that the PVO Bill would gag or even shut down many civil society organisations (CSOs). While regulation of CSOs is necessary, this should be done in a way which enhances cooperation between the government and civil society,” said Peter Murphy, Secretary of the ZIC.
“The decision this week by President Mnangagwa to recognise the Rev Ndabaningi Sithole and Cde James Chikerema as National Heroes is really welcome as a peacebuilding action. We look forward to His Excellency the President meeting the Sithole family to explain this long-overdue decision. We hope the President will create a proper transparent process for recognising National Heroes both from the past liberation struggle and for those future heroes doing outstanding work with the people of Zimbabwe,” said Mr Murphy. “We know there are many more justice issues that must be addressed as part of peacebuilding going forward.”
The ZIC delegation was surprised by the intense social media interest raised by one Susan Mutami. “Our legal advice about these allegations by Susan Mutami in Australia against President Mnangagwa is very clear — Queensland Police have no jurisdiction over these allegations, there is no investigation by the Queensland Police, and Queensland Police could not refer this to Interpol,” concluded Mr Chuck.