On Thursday the MDC told the media that it fear there was a plan afoot for Mugabe to use his presidential powers to postpone a run-off by up to three months, in order to allow him time to take whatever steps he felt necessary to ensure himself a victory.In what could be an unprecedented stance by the usually insipid SADC leaders, we can reveal that a prompt response on Friday by Mbeki – believed to have consulted his regional colleagues – indicated that they wanted the Zimbabwean political issue settled now.
The region cannot afford three more months of instability.
In order to implement his strategy, Mugabe would have to make another unilateral amendment to the Electoral Act, which currently requires a re-run to be done after 21 days from the day of polling.
Sources told The Zimbabwean on Sunday that Mbeki was under pressure from the international community to ensure the Zimbabwean issue was settled expeditiously.Â He and his SADC colleagues have been warned by the opposition in Zimbabwe that allowing Mugabe to delay his exit from power could drag the country into serious violence, negatively impacting on SA’s plans to host the 2010 soccer World Cup.
Mbeki was given up to June to ensure stability in Zimbabwe, otherwise the west would influence the international football governing body, FIFA, to move the tournament to Australia.
Mbeki and his colleagues have no option now but to play ball and block Mugabe from messing up the whole region, an SA diplomat in Harare said. Just this last week, Mbeki made assurances to British Prime minister Gordon Brown and other world leaders that the Zimbabwean issue was resolved and would be done with by end of April. That is one of the guarantees triggering a rush by the international community to pledge rescue packages for Zimbabwe.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa described as ridiculous and quite regrettable the reported plans by Mugabe to defer the rerun for another three months but declined to dwell much on that saying as far as we are concerned president Tsvangirai won the election and all we are waiting for is the release of results and we move forward.