SADC criticism grows as humanitarian crisis continues in Zim

The criticism aimed at the Southern African Development Community has continued to grow this week after the regional body failed to facilitate an end to Zimbabwe's humanitarian and political crisis at a summit of heads of state in South Africa this month.


The once influential group of African leaders has been under fire since the summit that saw Robert Mugabe invited and welcomed as head of state – a move which has been described as a disconcerting recognition by SADC of an illegitimately elected leader. Meanwhile, a leaked confidential document this week exposed SADC’s support for Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s leader, after it revealed that SADC leaders sanctioned an agreement that would see Mugabe remain as head of State and of the government.


With MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai refusing to sign the deal, SADC’s call has sparked widespread speculation that it is backing a deal that supports Mugabe. The regional body’s failure to pressure a signature out of Tsvangirai has reportedly led to Mugabe being given the green light to convene parliament. The speculation surrounding SADC’s preferred leader has since been justified with the leaked document exposing that a deal would be fully in Mugabe’s favour.


At the same time the regional body made no move to pressure an end to the ongoing violence in Zimbabwe or call for the ban on humanitarian food aid to be lifted – a ban that has left millions of Zimbabweans facing starvation. The summit seemed the ideal opportunity for leaders to debunk the growing belief that the region has no regard for the Zimbabwean people. However despite pressure on SADC to take action in ending the humanitarian crises, the body failed to even mention the ongoing abuses.


Tiseke Kasambala from Human Rights Watch told Newsreel on Wednesday that SADC’s silence on the humanitarian crisis is an indication that SADC has once again failed the people of Zimbabwe.’ She said SADC has rewarded the main abuser, ZANU PF, by backing Robert Mugabe,’ and said it is now necessary for the African Union to take over the role that SADC has failed at to bring an end to Zimbabwean crises. – SW Radio Africa News

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