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‘Sadc has failed to address Zim crisis’

ZIMBABWEANS should not continue pinning their hopes on Sadc resolving the political problems as the regional body has reached a point where it can no longer act on the crisis, analysts have warned.

Report by Patrice Makova
Sadc has been seized with the Zimbabwean crisis for years now, but the bloc has not come up with effective mechanisms to enforce full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and other outstanding issues, including an agreed election roadmap.

At its last summit in Maputo, Mozambique, Sadc merely encouraged the three political parties, Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, to fully implement the GPA complete the constitution-making process and put it to a referendum.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and Professor Welshman Ncube’s MDC last week wrote to the Sadc facilitator to the Zimbabwean crisis, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa after the two parties declared a deadlock on the Copac draft which Zanu PF has virtually re-written to suit its agenda.

But analysts said Sadc was unlikely to break the impasse as the bloc had reached its limit and could no longer continue to play the role of big brother.

Political analyst and social rights activist, Hopewell Gumbo said although Sadc had done its best to bring the warring political parties to the negotiating table, the regional bloc no longer had the capacity to do anything further.

“Sadc’s continued involvement serve nothing but prolong Zanu PF’s stay in power,” he said. “The MDC should rather concentrate on broader social mobilisation, a process handicapped by Sadc’s current involvement.”
He said it had become clear that the solution to the problems in the country, rested on Zimbabweans themselves.

Gumbo said there was no other way Sadc could use to force Zimbabweans to resolve their problems, other than military intervention, which was out of the question.

He said Zuma had his own serious problems at home, which he was grappling with, such as the fallout from the recent police killing of 34 striking workers at Marikana platinum mine.

“Zuma cannot be seriously judged as a best mediator for Zimbabwe,” he said. “The history of Sadc involvement is clearly marked by unclear resolutions on Zimbabwe apart from last year’s Livingstone summit. This vagueness can best be described as a mockery to the Zimbabwean problems.”

Zanu PF aligned political analyst, Goodson Nguni agreed with Gumbo saying Sadc had outlived its welcome in Zimbabwe.

“Sadc is no longer useful as it has been compromised a lot,” he said.
He said if Sadc continued to behave as if it was Zimbabwe’s big brother, then the country could be forced to withdrawal from the regional bloc like it did in the case of the Commonwealth.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director, McDonald Lewanika said Zimbabweans were expecting too much from Sadc.

“We have to play our part,” he said. “At the end of the day it is a shared responsibility.”

Lewanika said lack of commitment by political parties was responsible for the current deadlock on the resolution of outstanding GPA issues.

“If you agree to a process, abide by it,” he said. “Political parties must see the logical conclusion of the constitution-making process because they agreed to the process.”

Lewanika said Article 6 of the GPA clearly set deadlines and timeframes on the constitution- making process, but lack of commitment had seen the process being delayed by over two years.

He said Sadc also needed to show its commitment by putting pressure on Zimbabwe and demanding that political parties abide by what they agreed on the GPA.

Lewanika said Zimbabwe should take a cue from the Kenyan experience where they were clear timelines. He said already it was clear that Kenyans would hold elections in March and in the event that there was no clear winner, a run off would be held in April 2013.

“There is predictability in Kenya and they have already aligned their laws with the new constitution and the electoral board there has been re-constituted,” he said.

Lewanika said for the process to move in Zimbabwe, the political parties must agree on key dates to hold elections and a constitutional referendum.
“As long as there are no timelines, the political parties will continue to dilly dally because they will know that this will prolong their stay in power,” he said.

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