(with acknowledgements to Romayne Phoenix)
This Saturday, thousands of trade unionists and citizen groups will march on a Southern Africa leadership summit, waving red cards to signal that Mugabe must go. Stand with the marchers and the people of Zimbabwe -- send a red card now
Hopes are slipping away for a deal to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis. Yesterday, Robert Mugabe announced plans to ignore the ongoing negotiations with the opposition MDC party, form a sham "Government of National Unity" with a breakaway opposition faction, and open
parliament next week.
This weekend, when Southern Africa's 15 leaders, including Mugabe, meet at a major summit in Johannesburg, they will look out upon a sea of red.
Thousands of Southern African trade unionists and other citizens will march to the summit waving red cards -- the football penalty symbol for expulsion -- and call for Mugabe to go. The organisers have appealed to Avaaz for international support, and will carry signs at the march
representing the "red cards" sent by Avaaz members.
The region's powerful trade unions have threatened that unless Southern African leaders take action now, they will refuse to handle goods coming to or from Zimbabwe and will squeeze Mugabe out. A massive march this weekend backed by 100,000 supporters from around the world will be a overwhelming signal to Southern African leaders that they must act now
before the crisis becomes even more desperate -- to announce that the Mbeki-led negotiations have failed, and to launch a new and fairer negotiating process immediately. Click below to send a red card, and pass this message along to friends and family!
Four and a half months have passed since the people of Zimbabwe voted for Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change on 29 March. Hyperinflation has exploded to an unimaginable 40,000,000%, and millions now face starvation. The EU, US, and UK have pledged a $1.9bn financial aid package to stabilise Zimbabwe's economy, feed the hungry and combat hyperinflation -- but only if Mugabe is removed.
Meanwhile, distribution of food aid by local and international humanitarian agencies has been prohibited by Mugabe's government. Torture camps remain in operation, political violence continues in some rural provinces, and 12 opposition MPs languish in jail on trumped-up
charges. The Mbeki-led talks are collapsing, as Mugabe and his military high command insist on retaining control.
The people of Zimbabwe need strong allies willing to take bold action. Already, more than 300,000 Avaaz members -- including tens of thousands in Africa -- have signed petitions, donated funds, and written to their leaders in global campaigns for democracy and justice. After Avaaz flew a 280-square-metre banner over an Mbeki-chaired United Nations meeting,
South Africa finally called for the release of elections results. In April, trade unions and civil society groups including Avaaz led a successful campaign to block a Chinese arms shipment to Zimbabwe. Now, as the crisis accelerates, our voices matter more than ever -- we can send
an electronic wave of red cards to Johannesburg and bolster the efforts of on-the-ground advocates pressing for change.
Join the global outcry now, and then pass this message along!
Ben, Alice, Ricken, Brett, Paul, Iain, Pascal, Graziela, Veronique, and
Milena -- the Avaaz.org team
PS: For a report on Avaaz's campaigning so far, see:
PSS: Here are links to sources for this alert:
"Zimbabwe: Mugabe set to keep power amid rumours of breakaway deal" -
Guardian, 14 August 2008
Information on the march - COSATU / SW Radio Africa
"South Africa: Unions Bid to Halt Zimbabwe Arms Ship" - Business Day
(Johannesburg), 22 April 2008
"No arms for Zimbabwe" - Avaaz campaign