SADC to pile on the pressure on Robert Mugabe

HARARE – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) could suffer a serious diplomatic defeat if its campaign to have officials deployed to monitor repression are rejected by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party.

After nearly two years of violence and intimidation, Mugabe was last Thursday finally censured by the SADC Troika Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai campaigned publicly for tougher action from the regional body.

There is increasing concern about how to deal with Mugabe, which could undermine a looming SADC Heads of Government Meeting to be hosted soon if Mugabe continues on his destructive path.

“In the next couple of weeks we will be closely looking at what is happening and the SADC officials will be expected in the country on Monday or Wednesday,’’ a senior southern Africa diplomat said. “There will be additional measures if we feel there is defiance.”

Although he insisted Mugabe, as a serving head of state, would be invited to the next SADC meeting, he suggested he may be in for a rough reception if he continued to defy the Troika.

Moyo insults Zuma

Zanu (PF) Politburo member Jonathan Moyo said South African President Jacob Zuma’s election roadmap was a bid for regime change, similar to his vote for the UN Resolution 1973 supporting a no-fly zone in Libya to topple Muammar Gaddafi.

Moyo said Zuma’s involvement in the Libya regime change plot "makes him an undesirable SADC facilitator on the political and security situation in Zimbabwe. Zuma can no longer be trusted if he ever was."

He said the Troika’s plan to put officials on the ground to work with Zuma’s facilitation team was part of a regime change plot, which Zanu (PF) would resist, and threatened to refuse accreditation to a SADC monitoring team.

SADC appears not to be buying Zanu (PF)’s propaganda and the communique from the Troika was conspicuously silent on so-called “sanctions”, which Mugabe and Zanu (PF) repeatedly railed against.

Of greater concern to the regional body is the increasing edging out of the civilian authority by the military junta in Zimbabwe, threatening messages from the military elite wields a de facto veto over the country’s transition and the arrest of members of the opposition.

While Tsvangirai last Thursday drew attention to a series of "toxic issues" and violation of the GPA by the Mugabe regime and the support by Zuma for an intervention team to be on the ground to monitor abuses.

Zuma’s views are thought to be shared by a majority of other SADC nations who emphasise Zimbabwe must not be allowed to slide back to 2008. SADC rejects Zanu (PF)’s allegations that it is trying to appease Western countries, and says it simply wants to engage with the country ahead of key presidential elections so there is a dispute-free poll.

Lindiwe Zulu, a member Zuma’s facilitation team in Zimbabwe, said they were not listening to the criticism from Harare.
"We will not make any comments about statements that were made by any of the parties. We are just going to continue with our mandate which was given to us by SADC."

An authoritative source said Thursday’s lengthy debate in Livingstone was not good-natured, saying:  “SADC’s action was tantamount to putting in place election monitors, and that has infuriated Zanu (PF).”

Mugabe had tried to justify recent intimidation as part of a liberation struggle against the country’s former colonial masters. As a result he depended on the support of fellow African nations and the developing world to justify his campaign of intimidation. – The Zimbabwean