Presidents Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Armando Guebuza of Mozambique and Rupiah Banda of Zambia delivered what ranks as the first and sharpest regional rebuke to Mugabe yet.
The Troika called for an immediate end to violence, intimidation and hate speech which has conveniently been amplified on television and other state media outlets in recent days.
Mugabe was told to stop the harassment and arrests of MDC-T officials and come up with a proper roadmap for elections that is acceptable to all parties.
The rebuke from peers who still consider him as an elder statesman marks a turning point in regional politics.
Only Botswana President Ian Khama had mustered the courage to denounce Mugabe in the past. The change in approach and tone signifies that Sadc may finally be toughening its stance against Mugabe who has refused to co-operate with his coalition partners.
Predictably, Mugabe on Friday lambasted Sadc saying they could not dictate how Zimbabwe should run its affairs. Effectively putting himself on a collision course with Sadc, Mugabe said Zimbabwe was a sovereign state and would not entertain any interference, even from neighbours.
It remains to be seen whether Mugabe can really defy Sadc, but headstrong as he is, it would not be surprising if he does.
Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth in 2003 and may contemplate doing so with Sadc. He needs to be reminded, however, that without Sadc’s support, his world could soon start to crumble. Sadc, in particular South Africa, has propped up his rule and turning his back on the regional group may be a costly blunder.
Zimbabwe’s economy is heavily reliant on South Africa and it would be foolhardy for him to cut ties with the regional economic powerhouse. Clearly, Mugabe’s self-serving actions are not needed at this point in time when Zimbabwe’s economy is still fragile and recovering.
The last thing we need right now is regional isolation.