MDC say they will not boycott Monday’s SADC summit

MDC say they will not boycott Monday's SADC summit
By Lance Guma
22 October 2008
The MDC led by founding President Morgan Tsvangirai, have denied press reports they are planning to boycott a regional SADC meeting scheduled for Harare next Monday.

A meeting of the SADC troika on Politics Defence and Security this week failed to deal with the Zimbabwean issue after Tsvangirai couldn’t travel to the venue in Swaziland. The MDC blamed Mugabe’s regime for failing to renew his expired passport. Instead of confronting Mugabe to issue Tsvangirai a new passport, the troika of Swaziland, Mozambique and Angola decided to reschedule the meeting to take place in Harare next week.


Subsequent press reports suggested the MDC would skip Monday’s meeting in protest at the non-issuance of Tsvangirai’s passport. However speaking to Newsreel on Wednesday party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the MDC respected African institutions that were trying to help and would definitely’ attend the summit. We are going to present our case for an equal share of power and are comfortable with all the organs of SADC and the African Union.’ He blasted Mugabe’s regime over the passport affair saying, it is a manifestation of lack of sincerity and goodwill on the part of ZANU PF.’


Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairperson George Chiweshe has been telling journalists they are busy preparing for 6 parliamentary by-elections. There are empty parliamentary seats in Guruve North, Gokwe North, Gokwe South, Matobo North, Chegutu and a senate vacancy in Chegutu. September’s power sharing accord however suspended the need for by-elections arguing the country needed a period of national healing. The ZEC move has sparked fears of more political violence.


Responding to Chiweshe’s remarks Chamisa could only say, ZEC is simply doing what is expected of them under the constitution.’ He did say it was okay to allow people to elect their own leaders but that it was only problematic when ZANU PF resorted to violence, torture and terror to win elections. Maybe ZEC are doing so because the deal has not yet been consummated.’ Underlying Chamisa’s mild response though could be a realization ZEC is playing the ZANU PF game and trying to put pressure on the MDC by constantly throwing obstacles along the way to a final deal.


This week the leader of the War Veterans Association, Jabulani Sibanda, issued a threat to Tsvangirai saying if he did not sign up to the deal they would take action’ against him. He also urged Mugabe to go it alone and form his own government without the MDC. The MDC was dismissive of these remarks with Chamisa saying, we have the right to exercise selective hearing and ignore misguided voices that do not build the country.’ 

Zimbabwe’s Electoral Court meanwhile has thrown out 51 out of 105 petitions lodged by both Zanu-PF and the MDC who were seeking to invalidate results from the March 29 parliamentary elections in some constituencies. ZANU PF lodged 53 petitions while the MDC filed 52. Justice Rita Makarua argued the challenges were lodged outside the stipulated time frames. All the remaining petitions are expected to suffer the same fate.



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