Still no official confirmation that Zim is on SADC agenda

sadc_reThere was still no confirmation on Wednesday that Zimbabwe will be on the agenda of the upcoming Summit of leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with growing speculation that the issue will be deferred.

Speculation is rife that the hotly anticipated meeting will now only take place in June, because South African President Jacob Zuma looks unlikely to attend the Summit taking place this weekend. Zuma, the regional mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis and a key figure in talks on Zimbabwes future, is said to have conflicting commitments.

Dewa Mavhinga from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Collation, which is attending the SADC Summit this weekend, told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that there is still no official confirmation about the Zim meeting. He said that a proposal has been voiced for a special meeting to take place on the 10th or 11th June, possibly in Johannesburg.

The delay will give ZANU PF more time to conclude its regional offensive, with envoys being sent by Robert Mugabe across the region to get support. Presidential spokesperson George Charamba, has also written in the state media that the newly adopted tougher stance by SADC is a result of misinformation and interference by the UK and the United States. He further stated that the governments position regarding the Namibia summit on Friday is to defend the solidarity and unity of SADC, which is now under attack. Charamba said that the views given by the MDC, that Mugabe is now too incapacitated to run the country and that there has been a silent coup marked by widespread violence, were a fallacy. The Crisis Coalitions Mavhinga said ZANU PFs attempts to garner support are fruitless, insisting that SADC by now knows that kind of rhetoric ZANU PF uses. He continued, that the Crisis Coalition remains confident that SADC is on the right track, and will do the right thing regarding Zimbabwe.

We are positive about SADCs position, and we are mindful of the delay, Mavhinga said. But we are confident that ZANU PF will not be able to dilute what SADC has committed to doing in Zimbabwe. Meanwhile the Crisis Coalition, together with a group of other civil society organisations, will continue lobbying SADC to remain firm on Zimbabwe. The groups will present a position paper to SADC leaders on Thursday, calling for the regional body to publicly state its commitment to free, fair, credible elections in Zimbabwe.

The groups said in a statement that there are two critical options for Zimbabwe; either to proceed with holding elections in the current circumstances, or to implement an agreed roadmap to a credible poll that would produce uncontested results.

The coalition urged SADC to abide by its own Guidelines and Principles governing democratic elections, as the regional yardstick on the freeness and fairness of elections. The group also warned that any failure by the region to ensure that Zimbabwe adheres to these guidelines, would see other member states sliding down the same path as North Africa, where there have been unprecedented public uprisings.

The organisation stresses the critical role of SADC and of individual member states in ensuring that democracy, peace and human security prevail, noting the political developments in North and West Africa. Unless these issues are addressed there is bound to be instability which usually results in the deaths of many people, the civil society groups said.

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