Regional leaders made it clear they would not be steam-rolled by Zanu (PF) into agreeing to elections in Zimbabwe before the GPA had been honoured. Instead they ordered Mugabe to observe a 12-month framework for introducing reforms.
It seems that all the SADC leaders – apart from Sata of Zambia – came out against Mugabe’s rush to the polls. If he now goes ahead and calls elections unilaterally, the results will not be recognised by SADC or anyone else.
People from the Vigil went on to a lively and well-attended meeting of the Zimbabwe Action Forum on Saturday night after we finished our weekly protest outside the Embassy. There was no confidence in the GPA and we discussed what we could do to keep up pressure on SADC and mobilise people in the event of a Zanu (PF) suicide attack. Several people were tasked to set up a facebook page for ZAF and it was agreed the next meeting would be brought forward a week because of the urgency of the situation.
We were interested to get an email from the MDC MP Eddie Cross about a meeting between an unnamed person and a retired army general. The unidentified person reported: ‘The general said the military was not engaged in rhetoric when they say they are not prepared to countenance a possible MDC victory. They mean it and they are ready to take over power in the event the MDC wins the next elections. On the issue of elections he said there was nothing that could stop President Mugabe and Zanu (PF) going ahead with the elections in 2012.’
Vigil supporters welcomed the outspoken comments by the exiled MDC Treasurer-General Roy Bennett in a speech at Oxford. Roy was one of the people who inspired us to start the Vigil.
The British government has assured the Vigil that it is ready to help SADC in its efforts to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The assurance came in a letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in response to our petition submitted on 21st April calling for UN intervention in Zimbabwe. Here is part of their reply: ‘We share your concerns over the potential for violence in the forthcoming elections in Zimbabwe and that the international community, particularly SADC, have a critical role to play in ensuring that this does not happen. We are encouraged by SADC’s commitment, as guarantor of the GPA, that necessary reforms must be completed so that elections, whenever held, would be credible and free from violence. We stand ready to assist SADC in any way we can to help them achieve this.’
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