In a statement released on Monday, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairperson, Namibian President Hage Geingob was silent on the people who were allegedly killed by soldiers during last month’s shutdown Zimbabwe protests.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum documented 17 deaths due to state-sanctioned brutality. SADC also blamed NGOs supported by external forces, for attempting to destabilise the country. The southern African regional bloc said demonstrators used the fuel price increase as an excuse to implement their intention to destabilise Zimbabwe. Said Geingob:
The SADC Heads of State and Government noted that since coming to power, the new Government of Zimbabwe has continued with concerted efforts to address socio-economic challenges and transform the economy, particularly through the Zimbabwe Transitional Stabilization Programme (2018-2020), and to consolidate unity and peace in the country. This, notwithstanding, some internal groups, in particular NGOs, supported by external forces, have continued with efforts to destabilise the country.
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The SADC Heads of State and Government also noted that in an effort to address the economic challenges in the country, the Government recently increased fuel prices. Unfortunately, violent demonstrators rode on the back of increases in fuel prices, to implement their intention to destabilise the country. The demonstrations resulted in the destruction of property and loss of life. SADC condemns, in the strongest terms, the violence that ensued, and expresses sympathy with the affected families for the loss of their loved ones and their properties.