MDC say they are not relying on SADC for change

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party says it will not rely solely on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to deliver a free and fair election in the country.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Tuesday, MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa said; ‘The core strategy is to mobilize and galvanise the people of Zimbabwe to have a free and fair election. We are not putting all our eggs in the SADC basket, because we have learnt from events in the past.’

On Friday South African President Jacob Zuma met all three coalition leaders – Tsvangirai, Mugabe and Mutambara. He is reported to have pressed them to come up with, and implement, a roadmap for elections, that ZANU PF insist should be held next year before June. Responding to widespread views that Zuma was a mediator biased in favour of Mugabe Chamisa said; ‘Skepticism is there because of past circumstances, but Zimbabweans are their own ultimate liberators.’

Some reports claimed Zuma achieved some success in getting Tsvangirai and Mugabe to talk after, after more than a month. Asked to comment on Fridays negotiations Chamisa said; ‘Well I don’t know whether I should call it progress or otherwise. We received an undertaking that President Zuma is going to facilitate the construction of a roadmap towards the holding of a free, credible and legitimate election. Of course we are still to see the proof of the pudding in the eating.’

Although Chamisa refused to disclose the details of the meetings, SW Radio Africa has been told that Zuma asked Tsvangirai to withdraw a High Court petition challenging Mugabe’s unilateral appointments of provincial governors.

Tsvangirai is however said to have flatly rejected this proposal, demanding that Mugabe reverse his appointments first. Asked if this was true Chamisa said; ‘The veracity or otherwise remains confined to the corridors of those in the cockpit.’

Zuma travelled to Harare after the SADC troika on politics, defence and security failed to meet in Botswana a week before, because two of its three leaders, Zambian President Rupiah Banda and Mozambican President Armando Guebuza failed to turn up. Zuma is now expected to meet the same troika either before or after Christmas and appraise them of the so-called election roadmap.

For Zimbabweans the merry-go-round continues and two years of these endless meetings and summits has taught them to expect nothing.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean political parties in a fragile coalition government dismiss WikiLeaks revelations that a power-sharing deal between them is doomed because of acute differences between rival politicians.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the West have been strained over a decade of political and economic turmoil that fueled political violence and human rights abuse.

So far, only WikiLeaks cables by American Ambassador Chris Dell, who left Harare in 2007, have included derogatory remarks about Zimbabwe’s political leaders on both sides of the coalition.

Dell was "entitled to his opinions," the former opposition party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Tuesday. Mugabe’s party said Dell’s views were "not worth commenting on."