No elections unless free and fair, says SADC

sadcHARARE - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has told the countrys three leaders not to hold elections until they have agreed on a clear roadmap for a peaceful, free and fair election, sources close to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have said.

The Zimbabwean was told that Tsvangirai, concerned about elections next year, had received assurance from SADC facilitators that elections would not be held until a strategy was agreed.

Through South African President Jacob Zuma, the SADC-appointed facilitator of Zimbabwes coalition government SADC leaders are said to be attempting to block President Robert Mugabes bid for an election next year to avoid a repeat of the bloodshed in the 2008 presidential election when more than 200 MDC supporters were murdered.

Zuma was in Zimbabwe last week and he is said to have pressed the three leaders, Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, for an election blueprint before the end of the year. The deadline, though, is considered too short as the parties are still embroiled in a dispute over the implementation of the global political agreement (GPA).

The demand by the SADC is likely to see an extension of the troubled unity government, which was supposed to end next year with fresh elections.

It is widely hinted that Zanu (PF) has been keen to get an election next year, while its instruments of violence and intimidation are still in place. Already there are reports of intimidation of MDC supporters by Zanu youth militia and war veterans in rural areas.

There are fears that Mugabe will defy the SADC as he has always done in the past and he will go ahead with the elections without the SADCs green light, said the source. But this time it is a bit difficult because he may not get SADCs endorsement of the election.

Mugabe has drawn anger from the MDC and some SADC leaders after continually defying calls for the full implementation of the GPA signed in 2008 by Zanu and the MDC.

The SADC has also emphasised the need for the completion of the stalled constitution making process, which has been put on ice because of financial constraints and disagreements between the political parties.

The referendum for the constitution, which was supposed to be held in February next year, is likely to be delayed.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said he was unaware of the SADCs position.

I have not received that information, but that would be welcome because we want an environment that is conducive to a free and fair election. There is a difference between a boxing match and an election,: he said.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *