Civil society organisations in Southern Africa say failure to tackle the Zimbabwe crisis was delaying key infrastructural and economic development projects in the region.
They cited the stalling of three new border posts with Botswana and the construction of the Kazungula Bridge across the Zambezi River to link Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, as examples. The construction of the Kazangula bridge has been delayed by a border dispute between Botswana and Zimbabwe over the area.
The construction of the bridge was initially stalled by a similar dispute between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The non-governmental organisations (NGOs) tried to force Zimbabwe on the agenda of this week’s SADC meeting in Lesotho.
They called on the region’s leaders to stop ignoring Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis, saying the ‘business as usual’ approach is not working and the region is suffering because of it.
In a communiqu├® submitted to the foreign ministers of the 14-member grouping, NGOs expressed disappointment that successive summits had consistently ignored Zimbabwe’s plight, despite growing evidence of its regional impact.
The two-day SADC meeting in Lesotho’s capital, Maseru, ended on Friday. The agenda included items such as the formation of a regional common market, the re-admission to the body of the Republic of Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago, HIV/AIDS, avian flu and the 2010 World Cup.