It is no longer business as usual at SADC

Following yet another successful Sadc summit in Sandton last weekend just a few weeks after the watershed Livingstone Troika, there has been a sustained campaign by traditional spin doctors aimed at misinforming both the nation and the world as to the outcome and effect of the meeting.

The desperate attempt to relegate the crucial summit to a junior school English lesson will be an exercise in futility. Evidently, it is no longer business as usual at Sadc.

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If The Herald or any state media has a genuine interest to accurately inform Zimbabweans, our challenge to you is to go the extra mile and reproduce both communiqués word for word, so that the nation can make its own deduction. If this will be a waste of precious space, simply reproduce clauses 16 and 17 from Livingstone and 23 and 24 from Sandton. These alone will provide all the answers despite the hullaballoo about semantics.

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It is probably best to revisit them here:

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From Livingstone Communiqué, clause 16 reads “Summit noted with grave concern the polarization of political environment as characterised by inter alia, resurgence of violence, arrest and intimidation in Zimbabwe”

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Clause 17 says “In view of the above, Summit resolved that:

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(a)   there must be an immediate end of violence……

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(b)  all stakeholders should implement all provisions of the GPA and create a conducive environment for peace, security, and free political activity

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(e)   the Troika of the Organ shall appoint a team of officials to join the facilitation team and work with the JOMIC to ensure monitoring evaluation and implementation of the GPA.

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ZANU PF came out of Livingstone fuming because for the first time, Sadc had acknowledged that there was violence in Zimbabwe primarily caused by state actors. They were also not amused with the idea of an extended mediation team which was described as “interference with our sovereignty” with the facilitator being branded all sorts of names including traitor.

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To demonstrate its full support (I will deliberately avoid endorsement) of the Troika resolutions, clause 23 of the Sandton Communiqué says “Summit mandated the Troika to continue to assist Zimbabwe in the full implementation of the GPA”. Clause 24 goes on to say “Summit urged the Organ Troika to appoint representatives as soon as possible to participate in the JOMIC”

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Clause 28 is even a lot clearer “Summit urged the Troika Organ to remain seized with the implementation of the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe”

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Whichever way one interprets the two outcomes, the message that remains very consistent and obvious is that the GPA must be implemented in full and that Sadc will not allow another farcical election to occur in Zimbabwe. This must send a very strong signal to those who want to downplay resolutions of these two meetings as the writing is now on the wall that we will not go to the polls in 2011. Not that anybody is scared, but the field must be level.

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Even self-appointed experts at diplomatic parlance should not struggle to conclude that the only difference between the Livingstone Communiqué and the Sandton Communiqué, other than location of origin, is that one used slightly softer language than the other but the net effect remains exactly the same. If a partner tells you “it is no longer possible for us to be together” or “I don’t love you anymore” you will be crazy to think the two are different.  Having realised that the Sadc iron curtain is now closing, we hear of hired strategists showering praises on David Cameron as if he came from Dinyane! This won’t fool anybody.

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chambokom@gmail.com