Former Mozambican and South African First Lady Graca Machel says Southern Africa is going turbulent times; civic instability, negative impact of Covid-19, marginalisation of people, authoritarian regimes that have closed democratic space, poor civil servants and hungry masses.

Machel says most governments in the region come from the tradition of anti-colonial and freedom liberation struggles, in which their leaders were prepared to die but now they are terrorising their own people, and this has got to stop.

People need come together to act for change.

“Human rights activists, women groups, teachers, doctors and journalists must come together to form coalitions and networks to fight authoritarian regimes across the region that are badly mismanaging their own countries and resources, abusing power and impoverishing people,” she says.

She says while Malawi and Zambia have done well in electoral processes and democratic transitions, people must ensure leaders don’t change.

Machel said leaders change as nations have seen with former liberation struggle leaders who were ready to die for their countries, but now have changed.