Yet another SADC cop-out

sadc_meetingAnother Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit on Zimbabwe, the same predictable, anti-climatic outcome, is all that can be said about the meeting of the blocs Troika that took place in Maputo last Thursday.( Pictured : SADC leaders )

Chaired by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, the other members of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security are Zambias head of state Rupiah Banda and King Mswati III of Swaziland. The Troika convened the Maputo meeting in response to the latest developments in Zimbabwe, where Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had announced a decision to disengage from the Cabinet in order to highlight its grievances about unresolved issues covered under the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

These include the disputed appointments of attorney general Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, which the MDC was assured at an earlier summit would be addressed once the coalition government was set up. The tinder that sparked the flame for the MDC, however, was the re-arrest of its treasurer-general and nominee for the post of deputy agriculture minister, Roy Bennett.

The MDC approached SADC as the guarantor of the agreement to seek redress. But instead of tackling the MDCs complaints, SADC buried its head in the sand once again and resorted to institutional platitudes to cover up its unwillingness to confront the situation objectively and fairly.

The state daily, The Herald, captured the essence of SADCs unethical approach, albeit unintentionally , when it reported in its November 6 issue that the Troika had convinced MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai to end his partys disengagement…

We humbly submit that the person who needs to be prevailed upon to move in the expected direction is President Robert Mugabe. Why is it that SADC has never convinced him to do anything progressive or constructive?

SADC has never announced publicly that the MDCs grievances on the sticking points are not legitimate. Calling on Zanu (PF) and the MDC to engage in further dialogue when the dispute was referred to the regional bloc in the first place because negotiations had failed is a shameless cop-out on SADCs part.

It will only serve to polarize the positions of the two sides further, with Zanu (PF) becoming more emboldened to ride roughshod over everyone. What is needed to break the impasse is for SADC to take a principled stand based on the facts and realities on the ground. Is that too much to ask of an organisation that is supposed to provide leadership in conflict resolution?

Post published in: Editor: Wilf Mbanga

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