SADC’s frustrations aired

The Zimbabwean Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube outlined SADC’s frustrations with the pace of constitutional reform in a speech at Oxford University last weekend.

Welshman Ncube
Welshman Ncube

Speaking at the annual research day organised by the Britain-Zimbabwe Society, Ncube said that SADC had grown tired of excuses and wanted an end to the Zimbabwean political crisis.

“At the regional meeting in Luanda two weeks ago, SADC made their position clear to the Zimbabwean team, saying ‘when you do your next election, we want the result to be the end of the Zimbabwean political crisis,’” Ncube said.

Permanent resolution

Along with Zanu (PF) and the MDC, SADC is party to the GPA as its guarantor, and is using its political authority to push for a permanent resolution to the crisis.

“All parties wanted African solutions to African problems, but SADC is tired of the Zimbabwe situation and wants to bring it to an end” said Ncube. “Without SADC’s endorsement there cannot be an election in Zimbabwe; the moral and political authority of SADC cannot be doubted.”

Effectively, this means Zanu (PF) and the MDC parties must find a way to implement all sections of the terms of the GPA quickly, as an election must be held by 29 October 2013.

The biggest sticking point is the constitution, but Ncube dismissed Mugabe’s claim that COPAC still have 200 unresolved issues on the table, calling them a “contrived deadlock”.

“Zanu had agreed to these points originally, but is now slowing down the process to try and persuade SADC to tear up the GPA,” said Ncube.

The real disagreements about the draft constitution, Ncube claimed, are devolution, dual citizenship, and the roles of the Prime Minister and Vice President.

As the meeting in Luanda showed, SADC will not allow an election to take place until Zanu (PF) and the MDC parties agree on a constitution and put it to a referendum.

Diversity of opinion

For Ncube, successful implementation of the GPA will also include the opening up of television and radio licensing “so that the media reflects the diversity of political opinion in Zimbabwe,” and the removal of sanctions, which he calls Mugabe’s “red herring”.

“Mugabe loves to say ‘our hands are tied by the imperialists’; the sanctions allow him to continually play the victim,” said Ncube.“We will also need a police force to referee the run up to any election, and arrest those – regardless of political affiliation – who commit violence.”

Ncube closed by arguing that, while security sector reform is a salient issue, “it is not possible to remove figures such as General Chihuri. Instead, their jobs should be recontextualized by constitutional changes.”

Post published in: News

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