MDC urges SADC troika to reign in Robert Mugabe

HARARE – The MDC has urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to define the road map for free and fair elections when the region’s troika on politics, defence and security meets in Botswana tomorrow to discuss Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

In a statement the urged SADC to push Mugabe to fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and to ensure that the constitutional process is completed before elections are held.

Both President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai have announced that elections will be held next year at the expiry of the GPA which brought about the inclusive government.

Tensions between Mugabe and Tsvangirai have heightened in the past few weeks with the MDC leader describing his 86-year-old colleague in government as a “crook” who is “dishonest.” So deep is the tension between the two that they have spent more than a month without talking to each other.

The political crisis in Harare has alarmed the region resulting in Zimbabwe being on the agenda of the troika meeting. The three principals to the GPA, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara are expected to attend the troika meeting.

In a statement, the MDC has urged the troika to reign in Mugabe to ensure a free and fair election next year after the completion of the constitutional process.

“As the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security meet in Gaborone, Botswana this weekend, Zimbabweans are waiting on a knife edge with bated breath for rock-solid guarantees on their future, now that the political stalemate in Harare has reached a crescendo sufficient to blur tomorrow and to mash the little progress towards peace and security during the past two years.

“For the record, the fate of  the GPA is not, and has never been, at the discretion or benevolence of Mugabe and Zanu PF. Mugabe is a mere beneficiary, a bargain he rummaged after SADC nudged the MDC – the winners of the 29 March 2008 election – to soft-land the national crisis Zanu PF plunged Zimbabwe into through tyranny and a dictatorship. For that reason, Mugabe and Zanu PF must be restrained and stopped from adding fire to an already burning homestead in SADC’s
tranquil environs.

“The issues at stake are clear. The MDC insists on the full implementation of the GPA with specific timelines for action; the realisation of a total transitional reform agenda; the restoration of a Constitutional and civil order in national institutions; ending Zanu PF’s war psychosis which demands a heavy infusion of the security
forces in civilian governance concerns, in particular the villagisation of the military.

“The MDC insists on the crafting and adoption of a new, people-driven Constitution that would pave the way for a open and fair, credible and legitimate,  violence-free and dispute-empty national election,” reads part of the statement.

The MDC warned SADC that if the country takes shortcuts in the run up to the elections situation will deteriorate further. Mugabe has been refusing to fully implement the GPA saying that he will only do so if the MDC pushed for the removal of sanctions imposed on the veteran leader and his inner cabal.

Two months ago, Mugabe infuriated Tsvangirai when he unilaterally re-appointed provincial governors. The two clashed resulting in Tsvangirai announcing that he would not recognise Mugabe’s governors and went on to write to the international community asking them to disregard ambassadors appointed by the veteran leader.

“Since the 27 January 2009 SADC summit and communiqué, progress along that road-map to legitimacy has been painfully slow. Mugabe and Zanu PF ignored subsequent SADC resolutions, directives and deadlines purely out of their lack of respect for African mediation and wisdom; steadily eroding the hopes and confidence of Zimbabweans about the possibility of an imminent, lasting solution to the crisis.

“By now SADC knows that Mugabe is likely to agree to whatever it says but behaves differently as soon as he returns home. At the weekend’s  meeting, a monitoring and enforcement mechanism must be put place to ensure compliance beyond the existing shuttle diplomacy whose fruits remain still-born.  The MDC believes SADC’s reputation is sacrosanct and must be protected. Mugabe must never be allowed to get away with acts that compromise that regional esteem.

“The MDC calls on the Troika and SADC to make clear to Mugabe and Zanu PF that the time has come for them to fulfill their side of the deal. The MDC remains fully committed to the letter and spirit of the GPA.

“The party has gone out of its way to make sure that the current transitional arrangement succeeds. For the sake of our nation and the entire region, the MDC kindly appeals to SADC to take a decisive stand and assist in normalising the volatile situation in Zimbabwe today,” reads the statement. – Daily News