Mugabe desperate

President Robert Mugabe and his party Zanu-PF continued to defy the Southern African Development Community (SADC) this week, saying the inclusive government has failed to work, and therefore Zimbabwe urgently needs to hold elections.

The Zanu-PF position is contained in a paper which party members tried to present at the SADC summit in Windhoek, Namibia on Friday. The party also said the process of coming up with an election road map was a waste of time, arguing the Global Political Agreement was adequate.

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A desperate Mugabe tried and failed to force the regional leaders to discuss the Zimbabwean crisis and review the findings of the Troika in Livingstone, in March, in the absence of facilitator President Jacob Zuma, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his deputy Arthur Mutambara and MDC-N leader Welshman Ncube.

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Sources in Windhoek told the Sunday Times that Mugabe was not happy with the Livingstone findings, which blamed him for violence against opponents, arbitrary arrests of foes and the breakdown in the rule of law. The regional leaders warned him that if he did not stop harassing and intimidating people he risked a North African-style revolt.

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A combative Mugabe has been at loggerheads with Zuma’s facilitation team and the SADC, which insists that Zimbabwe is not capable of holding free and fair elections until an election road map is in place. The SADC wants to avoid bloody elections, as has happened in the past.

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In the position paper seen by the Sunday Times, Zanu-PF disputes that it is violent, instead accusing the MDC of causing most of the violence.

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SADC insiders told the Sunday Times that Zanu-PF also came armed with a dossier from the police, blaming most of the violence on MDC-T.

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“It is a fact that the three political parties to the GPA have failed to work together as a team for the development of the country. They have failed to fight the illegal sanctions together, to support the agrarian reform, and to speak with one voice on indigenisation.

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“The party will religiously adhere to the tenets of the GPA and ensure its full implementation. This is the reason why we are saying we need to go for elections this year and not next year, as this is consistent with the provisions of the GPA.

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“The GPA clearly stipulates that elections should be held two years after the formation of the inclusive government and this is the reason Zanu-PF maintains that elections should be held after the completion of the constitution-making process.

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“The GPA envisaged the completion of the constitution-making process within 18 months. This has not been achieved because of the MDC-T’s strategy to delay the elections by boycotting sessions of COPAC on very flimsy excuses. There is no reason Zimbabwe should not go for elections,” reads the paper in part.

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However, regional diplomats said they were surprised Mugabe came with such a position paper when he was the biggest GPA violator. “The Zanu-PF position surprised the heads of state, not only because Mugabe is the chief culprit, but because he knew that the facilitator was not there, together with the other political parties in the inclusive government.

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“The SADC leaders would simply prefer the Zimbabwe issue to be discussed on June 11 in Johannesburg. We are aware Mugabe wants to avoid the Joburg summit. He knows he will be facing a lot of hostility there.

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“What is clear is that Mugabe is in trouble with the region. They are no longer taking his lies as they have very good and reliable briefings on the situation,” said an SADC insider.

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Zimbabwe’s electoral system is in a shambles, with an outdated voters’ roll. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has no money to run the elections, and the SADC and opposition parties in Zimbabwe do not want the military and security institutions to be involved in the electoral process at all. But Zanu-PF insists on elections being held this year amid reports that the party is prepared to go it alone without the SADC.