Banda, again rubs Robert Mugabe's nose at SADC Summt

WINDHOEK, Namibia – The increasingly frustrated and isolated Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has again clashed with the SADC Troika Chairman Zambian leader Rupiya Banda and the pair exchanged harsh words in front of fellow heads of State at the SADC Summit in Namibia, The Zimbabwe Mail can reveal.

Ahead of the summit, SADC issued a Comminique saying that the the Zimbabwe issue had been removed from the agenda, but the boisterous Zimbabwe State media loyal to Robert Mugabe insisted that the summit was going to fully discuss the progress that had been made by the political parties in the inclusive government in implementing the GPA and the roadmap to the holding of elections in the country.

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Zanu PF was so confident and defiant that it was going to come out of the summit armed with a favourable resolution to call for general elections this year and, in that spirit, a full delegation of a high powered delegation arrived in Windhoek bubbling with confidence, but reality of what was coming dawned on them at the airport as the Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba failed to turn up to welcome his Zimbabwean counterpart, preferring to delegate his Foreign Minister Utoni Nujoma instead.

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Yes, the Head on State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe was met at the airport by the Foreign Minister.

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A source travelling with the Zimbabwean delegation said everyone was stunned because Zanu PF views SWAPO, the ruling Namibian political party as a key regional ally.

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Other leaders who attended the summit include Zambia’s Ruppeah Banda, Amando Guebuza of Mozambique, Joseph Kabila of DRC, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Ian Karma of Botswana and host Hefikepunye Pohamba.

And speaking during the opening ceremony of the extraordinary summit, Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson Hefikepunye Pohamba called on SADC member countries to take an active role in global economic affairs.

Mr. Pohamba said this is important because it would be easy for the region to chart a clear course of the global economy with certainty.

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Discussions on the Zimbabwe issue at the SADC Summit in Windhoek, Namibia, was removed off the agenda following the failre of the SADC facilitator on Zimbabwean talks, South African President Jacob Zuma’s failure to attend due to pressing domestic issues.

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However, the face-saving Zimbabwe State media is now honking on spin saying the issue have been deferred and will now be held at the Tripartite Summit in South Africa next month.

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Sources close to the deliberations said Robert Mugabe failed to salvage the issue back on the agenda as he was rebuffed by his regional peers and complained of what he called inaccuracies in the Livingstone report presented by SADC Troika Chairman, President Rupiya Banda of Zambia.

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Heads of State present also told Mugabe that most of the issues he had raised on the report needed a response by the facilitator, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa.

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Mugabe also complained that procedures were not being properly followed as was never given a chance to see the report and at that point Banda told him that he was on an equal footing with his coalition partners.

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This sparked an angry exchange of words between the two leaders with Mugabe saying he was the Head of State and entitled to that privilege, but the feisty Zambian President was having none of it.

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The other reasons cited was that the other parties in the GPA were not present for a full discussion.

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Zanu PF was armed with bags of Dossiers of DVDs of MDC Congress violence which it planned to present to SADC heads of States but all was in futile as the Zambian leader prevailed with indefatigable authority, leaving Robert Mugabe and his mob frustrated. 

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Meanwhile, as frustration and tensions in Zanu PF grew, the embattled former ruling party Zanu PF’s Chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo, distributed a statement of defiance reiterating his party’s position regarding the political situation in Zimbabwe and the holding of elections, amid reports of escalating frustration and tensions from the as they struggled to get their way at the summit.

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Moyo said the only way forward for the parties in the Global Political Agreement, is to speedily conclude the constitution-making process and allow Zimbabweans to participate in a referendum and in polls.

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He said the current delaying tactics employed by the MDC formations is a recipe for political and economic instability in Zimbabwe.

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Moyo added that as a party, Zanu PF is totally against an idea of a new roadmap to elections as it means re-negotiating the GPA.

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The two MDC formations have of late been advocating for a fresh election road-map, divorced from the dictates of the GPA. They are both united on full implementation of the outstanding GPA agreements.

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The Zanu PF chairman said he hoped the on-going SADC summit in Namibia will review the position taken at the last summit in Livingstone, Zambia and facilitate the full implementation of the PGA, particularly the holding of elections this year, without further delay.

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He also said the GPA parties should, in unison, call for the removal of travel restrictions on Zanu PF leaders and against what he called the illegal broadcast by western radio stations into the country.

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Moyo’s said the three parties in the inclusive government have clearly failed to bust travel restrictions together and to support the agrarian reform as well as the indigenisation and empowerment thrust together.

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He said Zanu PF will stick to the letter and spirit of the GPA, which stipulates that elections should be held after the completion of the constitution-making process.

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Commentators at the summit said Moyo’s statement seemed to be an act of desperation as no one was listening to Zanu PF’s plea at the summit to get the Zimbabwe agenda back on the table in the absence of the facilitator.

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SADC mediator and facilitator on the Zimbabwean crisis, South African President Jacob Zuma, is not attending the Namibian Heads of State Summit due to domestic commitments.

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A South African embassy official in Harare has said Zuma would be overseeing the local government elections in his country and SADC had seen it fit that the Zimbabwe crisis problems could not be discussed without the facilitator.

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Zanu PF had bands of hired party mobs and thugs in Namibia ready for legendary defiant chant at the Summit venue in demand for elections this year in support of its beleaguered leadership, and today The Zimbabwe Mail has met some of them loitering in the streets of Windhoek doing shopping clad in party regalia.

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One Zimbabwean journalist attending the summit sumed it all, “things have turned the corner for Zanu PF. A few months back it was the MDC demanding SADC summits, and now it is Zanu PF’s turn, I hope they’ll write a headline, “SADC Ignores Zanu-PF” in the Herald, like they used to do in the past”, he said in a burst of laughter from the joint.