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Sadc summit: Has Mugabe finally caved in to pressure?

They said recent events at the Sadc summit in South Africa and the hard stance taken by regional leaders in Zambia showed that while President Robert Mugabe publicly exhibits political bravado, his party is cornered and is caving in due to increasing pressure.


The analysts said there was little room for Mugabe to wiggle out of what was agreed on in the roadmap to Zimbabwe’s elections, signed by the three parties in the inclusive government and policed by Sadc.


The roadmap sets benchmarks that must be implemented before the next elections, whose date will be determined after fulfilling the contentious issues.

The benchmarks include a new constitution, re-establishment of the rule of law, media and electoral reforms, freedom of association and assembly, lifting of sanctions and the actual election.


The recent Sadc summit in South Africa made inroads in forcing Mugabe to agree to reforms that would lead to an uninterrupted path to free and fair elections.

The appointment of Sadc monitors to strengthen the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) and mobilise resources for the monitors as well as finalise the election roadmap shows that the regional body has cornered Mugabe and Zanu PF, who are accused of wantonly violating the Global Political Agreement (GPA).


Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) spokesperson Phillip Pasirayi believes that while Mugabe and Zanu PF may resist for some time they will ultimately reform as they could not bear the pressure from an increasingly impatient Sadc.


He said the fact that Mugabe had ceased being abrasive towards Sadc and adopted a reconciliatory approach indicated that pressure is taking its toll on the ageing leader.


“He will drag his feet for a while but in the long run he will reform,” said Pasirayi, who is also director of the Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ).


“President Zuma has made it clear that they want a roadmap with clear timelines and this makes it difficult for Zanu PF and Mugabe to go against the roadmap.”


Even hardliners in Zanu PF, said Pasirayi, would not want the Zimbabwe issue to end up at the UN Security Council by defying Sadc. He said the council would not treat Mugabe with kid’s gloves as was being done by the regional bloc.


“There are vultures in the Security Council,” he said. “Mugabe would not want to end up there. Zanu PF has to be careful with the steps they are going to take in the next few months.”


Analysts said the fact that South African President Jacob Zuma, who is the facilitator in the Zimbabwe crisis, told Mugabe point blank that he did not manufacture the Livingstone report, critical of Zanu PF, showed his dwindling patience with the ageing leader’s political antics.


Political analyst Charles Mangongera said the political momentum built by Sadc to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis made it impossible for Zanu PF and the two MDC formations to resist reforms.


“I don’t see how Zanu PF will wiggle out of the roadmap because Sadc has made it clear that it wants all issues implemented as agreed,” said Mangongera. “I don’t see it defying Sadc anymore but they can just delay the reforms.”


Zanu PF unlikely to submit to security sector reform

Political analysts in Zimbabwe are convinced forcing Zanu PF to reform the security sector, seen as Mugabe’s guarantor of power, will be an uphill task.

Zanu PF was likely to get renewed impetus to resist security reforms because the Sadc communiqué  issued after the regional body’s recent summit in Johannesburg, South Africa  was silent on that.

Political commentator Alois Masepe said no reforms of the security sector would be entertained as Zanu PF associated such reforms with political defeat.

“I don’t see it coming because in a changing political situation the security sector is the guarantor or guardian of the incumbent leader.”

Reforming the security sector involves retiring all the generals who have publicly showed political allegiance to Zanu PF despite the fact that they should be apolitical.

However, without reforming the security sector, Zanu PF would continue to enjoy electoral advantage over the MDC formations even if reforms in other sectors were instituted because the security services play a critical role in elections in the country.


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