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Sadc leaders turn against ailing Mugabe

This observation comes after the regional body on Thursday resolved to appoint a team of officials to join the facilitation group to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which Zanu PF is accused of derailing to ensure its total demise.

The teams will work with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic), which has been labelled as a toothless bulldog after it appeared powerless to stop Zanu PF’s wanton violation of the GPA.

The summit, which was held in Livingstone in Zambia, received the report on the political and security situation in the country that was presented by the Sadc facilitator and South African president, Jacob Zuma.

The analysts said the inability or and the reluctance to implement its resolutions has been SADC’s great undoing in the past years.

Dewa Mavhinga, the regional information and advocacy coordinator of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC), South African office, said the regional body, unlike in the past, had pledged to take the country’s crisis head-on.

“The Sadc Troika will appoint a team of officials to assist the facilitation team, this is positive in that Sadc is taking greater responsibility for the Zimbabwe crisis which cannot be solved without direct Sadc  intervention,” he said.

The Troika will develop the terms of reference, time frames and provide regular progress reports, the first, to be presented during the next Sadc extraordinary summit.

This summit will review progress on the implementation of GPA and take appropriate action.

Mavhinga, who attended the summit, said deliberations on Zimbabwe in Livingstone lasted one and half hours, a clear sign that the regional leaders are no longer prepared “to listen to cooked up stories or endless excuses meant to buy time.”

“Mugabe’s health, appears to have given Sadc leaders a new impetus to take Zanu PF head-on,” he added.

There have widespread rumours of Mugabe’s deteriorating health although government spokesperson George Charamba has been quick to dismiss them.

The summit also resolved that there must be an immediate end of violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter of the GPA.

Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed the coalition government in February 2009 in a bid to end rampant violence surrounding disputed 2008 elections and stem an economic crisis.

The summit also resolved that all signatories to the GPA must implement all the provisions of the pact and create a conducive environment for peace, security, and free political activity.

“The Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe should complete all the steps
necessary for the holding of the election including the finalisation of
the constitutional amendment and the referendum,” says the SADC communiqué.

The regional body resolved to assist Zimbabwe to formulate guidelines that will assist in holding an election that will be peaceful, free and fair, in accordance with the SADC principles and guidelines governing democratic elections.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have said they are ready for elections that would put an end to the transitional government.

But Tsvangirai is demanding wholesome electoral changes before the polls.

University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred Masunungure said the recent SADC communiqué was the most robust statement that regional body has ever issued since the formation e of the government of national unity (GNU) over two years ago.

He said given the “sting” in the tone of the statement, it was natural to speculate that there was greater determination to implement what the bloc recommends.

“But as you might be aware the taste of the pudding is in the eating,” said Masunungure.

“Words are one thing and action is another thing.”

Mavhinga concurred saying although the summit was “positive”, the key challenge remained Sadc’s inability to follow-up and closely monitor the full implementation of its resolutions and the GPA.

“We must not celebrate resolutions, but actions on the ground,” Mavhinga said.

“Once we see positive movement on the ground in Zimbabwe, then we will be in a position to judge accurately the success of this summit.”

Another political analyst, who requested anonymity, also said the tone of the Sadc communiqué had changed pointing to impatience by the regional leaders, who were once accused of siding with Mugabe.

“It’s no longer business as usual,” he said. “Reading through it (communiqué) it is almost palpable that there is a sense of fatigue with the Zimbabwe crisis which does not seem to go away.”

Of note remarks by Zambian president Rupiah Banda in his official opening speech when he warned other Sadc leaders to take heed of what is happening in North Africa.


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