Zimbabwe on SADC Agenda

Harare, – Zimbabwe’s political fallout is likely to be discussed at next week’s Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) summit in Maputo, Mozambique as the regional grouping pushes for a resolution in the Harare crisis ahead of the referendum and harmonised elections.

Reports had indicated that the Maputo summit, scheduled for 17-18 August, will focus on hot-spots Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo but sources last Friday said the Sadc appointed facilitation team of South African President Jacob Zuma , is expected to present a report on Zimbabwe in the wake of another stalemate on the draft constitution.

A Zanu-PF marathon politburo meeting which ended around 5am on Thursday resolved to re-write the draft constitution despite the document being endorsed by its two partners in the Global Political Agreement.

Zuma and his team are expected in the capital Harare early next week before the summit in Maputo which kicks off with the Council of Ministers Meeting to start on Wednesday.  

Jameson Timba, the MDC-T secretary for external affairs who doubles as the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office, said they had just concluded a diplomatic offensive in the region ahead of the summit.

“Zimbabwe like Madagascar will always be on the agenda of the SADC troika which in turn reports on progress to the summit,” said Timba.

“At this juncture there is no serious matter that would warrant Zimbabwe having a specific and separate agenda item outside the troika report to the summit. Sadc and South Africa, in my view have done their best to nurture the fragile transition in Zimbabwe. A lot, however, still needs to be done to ensure that the country does not regress but instead progresses to a credible free and fair election. At the end of the day the destiny of Zimbabwe lies with Zimbabweans,” he said.

MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora said his party expected the summit to carry on discussions on Zimbabwe as that would be a normal procedure since the last summit in Angola had prescribed certain actions to be taken.

“Zimbabwe is an outstanding issue. It must be discussed somehow We are moving towards elections and we have seen increasing chaos within Zanu-PF which is being exported to the state institutions such as that being witnessed at the start of the census involving the army,” said Mwonzora.

“These issues have to be tackled by Sadc because if not, it will cause chaos in the country. Our position in the MDC remains the same; that the summit must deal with the issue of Zimbabwe. They must consider the few remaining issues on the GPA. They must push the country into having a referendum to ask the people of Zimbabwe to vote on whether they approve of the draft constitution.

Our delegation will implore the summit that the draft constitution is complete and was completed by a multi-party team. The parties have negotiated enough, have fought enough and have bickered enough, now the people of Zimbabwe must have their chance. So the summit must intervene and push for progress,” he said.

The last summit in Luanda pressured Zuma to push parties to the GPA to implement agreed reforms, finalise the constitution-making process and hold a referendum to pave way for elections next year.

Sadc said preparations for elections should be done within the next 12 months after full implementation of outstanding GPA reforms. The regional bloc has struggled to unlock Zimbabwe’s political stalemate as several summits have made resolutions on the issue which have not been fully implemented.