HomeLocalEditor's Memo: Sadc has neither bark nor bite

Editor’s Memo: Sadc has neither bark nor bite

IT is now apparent that Sadc and its facilitator in the Zimbabwe political negotiations, South African President Jacob Zuma, do not have teeth that bite and even have difficulty barking.

And besides Sadc and Zuma, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara have betrayed Zimbabweans by failing to discharge their mandate to heal the nation and take charge of its social development.
The regional bloc at its summit in Namibia last month gave a 30-day deadline to Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara to resolve outstanding issues in the global political agreement (GPA) signed two years ago.
The deadline expired last Wednesday with no movement whatsoever towards the resolution of the sticking points – the rehiring of central bank czar Gideon Gono, appointment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and the swearing in of MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett as Deputy Agriculture minister. Sadly, Sadc and Zuma have been mum on this development.
This is the second time such a deadline had been imposed on the principals by Sadc and not followed through.
In October 2009, Tsvangirai’s MDC-T disengaged from government, forcing Sadc’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation to hurriedly convene a meeting in Maputo, where the political protagonists were given 30 days to deal with a litany of outstanding issues. The deadline came and went without any resolution. Meanwhile Sadc and Zuma remained silent.
It is this failure by Sadc to deal decisively with the Zimbabwe situation that has rendered the bloc, in the eyes of many, as next to useless. Sadc clearly does not have much leverage over the three principals, especially Mugabe, and as such it would help matters for the bloc to admit its failure and escalate the Zimbabwe case by referring it to the African Union (AU).
The AU, a joint guarantor of the GPA with Sadc, should be allowed to come in and try to resolve the outstanding issues because Zuma and the regional bloc have feared to confront one of their own and have failed to address critical regional issues to the disadvantage of the nation!
Sadc has failed to be firm, especially with Mugabe, by demanding a resolution to the outstanding issues so that the work to rebuild the country continues in earnest. They should have been speaking loudly against the resurgence of politically-motivated violence during the constitution-making process. There is no need on the part of the regional bloc to treat the principals with kid-gloves. They need to commit to what they signed up to.
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara have betrayed the nation by failing to meet within the 30-day Sadc deadline to resolve the outstanding issues –– the reason being that Mutambara was abroad. Of what benefit was Mutambara’s trip to the country considering that this impasse is threatening the very existence of the inclusive government? Must we put these issues on ice every time the deputy premier goes overseas?
The violence in Harare at the weekend during the constitution-making process outreach programmes has exposed the farce that we call national healing.
Last week Tsvangirai said national healing should take place after fresh elections.
He should be reminded that any process of national healing should involve unearthing the nefarious activities of those with whom he is presently sharing power. At present they are instilling fear of retribution if people express their views openly.
On the other hand, he should also note that victims of political violence, as we disclose this week, are yearning for recognition and acknowledgement of the wrongs done to them.  Ultimately he will not be able to please everybody at the same time.
In his attempt to play politics, he assumes that what people need most is change in political leadership and that when that is achieved, other issues, such as national healing can be done. But in doing so he may be underestimating the residual bitterness among the victims, many of whom are his supporters. Also he probably doesn’t realise that those resisting change will not take his statements seriously because they know they will be targeted once they lose power.
So trying to please them by suggesting that national healing is suspended until after the election does not really achieve much. Far better in our view is to stick to principle and insist on the need for national healing and everything that it entails.

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