SADC Misses Deadline for Zimbabwe Emergency Funding

JOHANNESBURG — All Southern African Development Community (Sadc) states other than SA missed this week's deadline for pledges to raise US$ 2bn in emergency funding to rebuild Zimbabwe's shattered economy.

The US$2bn is part of a US$ 10bn bail-out package Sadc member states say the country needs.

Inquiries at Sadc headquarters in Botswana yesterday established their failure to make pledges on how much they would give Zimbabwe, despite the expiry of Sadc’s self-imposed Tuesday deadline.

Sadc states promised to contribute to Zimbabwe’s economic recovery at an extraordinary summit in Swaziland last month.

Only SA has committed – a pledge of about R800m.

Official sources in Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo said they had not yet set aside funds for Zimbabwe because "consultations were still going on".

Western countries, the US and European Union states that have imposed sanctions on Harare have said they would not give Zimbabwe economic aid until they were satisfied by reforms made.

Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has said Sadc had dispatched teams of ministers to lobby for reconstruction funding and the lifting of sanctions targeting President Robert Mugabe and his cronies.

Sadc leaders agreed in Swaziland to send teams to the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The inability of the region to raise the rescue package has left Harare’s unity government bankrupt and facing the grim prospect of collapse.

The shaky government is struggling to ride out a storm of internal conflicts arising from its failure to implement the political agreement that led to the unity arrangement.

Infighting in the government led by Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has intensified after Mugabe last week seized the telecommunications department from a ministry under Nelson Chamisa, a member of the Movement for Democratic change (MDC).

The government is also divided on matters such as the rule of law, renewed farm invasions, human rights abuses, the continued detention of MDC activists, Mugabe’s refusal to swear in MDC deputy minister Roy Bennett (who was detained on dubious charges of trying to topple the government), and the implementation of political and economic reforms that have been agreed on.

Many provisions in the agreement are yet to be implemented. There is also a fight brewing over the constitutional reform process.

The government has announced a 25-member committee made up of ZANU (PF) and MDC MPs to spearhead the process of drafting a new constitution by next year. But the parties are not agreed on who will chair the committee and have been battling to outmanoeuvre each other, creating fresh divisions.

The government is on a collision course with civil society groups over the constitutional review process.

Some have said they will fight the government over the constitution because "what they are proposing is not a people-driven process, but a political process by the parties to consolidate power". (BusinessDay)