SADC commends coalition despite lack of progress and continued violence
By Tererai Karimakwenda
04 May 2011
Despite the lack of progress in fully implementing the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) facilitated by SADC, and the recent increase in political
violence by ZANU PF, the regional leaders meeting in Angola have commended
Zimbabwe’s coalition leaders for “their commitment, cooperation and efforts”.
In a communiqué issued on Friday, the regional leaders at the Extraordinary
Summit of SADC Heads of State in Luanda, urged the three main parties to
finalise the constitution-making process and hold a referendum before
conducting free and fair elections.
The chief facilitator on Zimbabwe, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, was
also praised by the regional leaders for “his efforts towards the
realisation of full implementation of GPA”.
The GPA was signed nearly four years ago and contentious issues still
remain, with ZANU PF continuing a campaign of arrests and violence against
the MDC formations. In addition, a SADC team that was supposed to be sent to
Zimbabwe to assist JOMIC make progress on the GPA has still not been
Okay Machisa from the Crisis Coalition said those two paragraphs in the
communiqué said a lot about the regional leaders’ commitment to a free and
fair election in Zimbabwe, because they insisted on reforms ahead of
elections. This is the same position they expressed at other summits in
Livingstone, Sandton and Windhoek.
“They are sending a clear message to Robert Mugabe, to Tsvangirai and to
Ncube that they want free and fair elections in Zimbabwe and for them to be
held under the standards that the African Union and SADC expect,” Machisa
Machisa told SW Radio Africa that the lack of a time frame for
implementation of the reforms is the key factor that has been missing in
Zimbabwe so far.
“Civil society has been saying there is need for a time frame that should
adhered to. Otherwise we are getting nowhere,” Machisa said.
SADC’s call for full implementation of the GPA effectively makes Robert
Mugabe’s wish for elections this year, with or without key reforms, a
non-starter. Mugabe and senior officials within his party had been pushing
for early elections, amidst reports of Mugabe’s failing health and serious
infighting within the party.