Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has called for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to take action over what it termed a “governance and legitimacy crisis” in the country.

The Movement for Democratic Change Alliance (MDC Alliance) issued the call in a letter after the 40th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government held on Monday.

“We note that the communique of the just ended [summit] … has omitted the deteriorating governance and legitimacy crisis in Zimbabwe,” read the letter.

It said the SADC had “taken note of the security situations in some countries including Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo” and urged regional leaders pay equal attention to the “deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.”

“Under the cover of COVID-19, the government of Zimbabwe has intensified its crackdown on human rights defenders including journalists, lawyers, labor unions, civil society, the church and the opposition for exercising their constitutional rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association,” the MDC Alliance said.

“In response to citizen discontent owing to grand state corruption and plummeting socio-economic standards … the political elite has abused state institutions to carry out systematic abductions, torture, extra-judicial killings and unlawful arrests.”

The Nelson Chamisa-led alliance said it had recorded “at least 146 cases of human rights violations including 38 abductions” against its members in a short period before and after the anti-government protests in Zimbabwe at the end of July.

“We urge the SADC to urgently intervene in Zimbabwe in line with the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security in order to maintain regional peace and security,” read the letter.

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.