Tsvangirai resumes regional briefings

Itai Dzamara

MOVEMENT for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai left the country on Wednesday on an ongoing tour to brief Southern African Development Community (Sadc) leaders on the political sit

uation in Zimbabwe.


MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi yesterday said Tsvangirai would meet all Sadc leaders.


“He is visiting countries as a way of raising awareness on the issue of elections in this country,” Nyathi said. “These visits are at the invitation of the Sadc leaders who want to know the situation regarding the implementation of the Sadc protocol. The president (Tsvangirai) is going to articulate our position that there is no commitment by Zanu PF towards implementing the protocol.”


President Robert Mugabe joined other regional leaders in adopting the Sadc protocol on the conduct of elections in August at a summit in Mauritius.


Tsvangirai was expected to meet recently re-elected Botswana President Festus Mogae in Gaborone today before meeting President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique in Maputo.


Mogae has been critical of Mugabe’s policies in the past and recently said Zimbabwe’s problems reflected “a crisis of governance”.


Tsvangirai launched his regional diplomatic initiative two weeks ago after his acquittal last month on treason charges based on allegations that he wanted to assassinate Mugabe and stage a military coup.


He first met President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa before meeting Mauritian leader Paul Berenger, the current chairman of Sadc.


Tsvangirai reportedly told Mbeki and Berenger that Mugabe was not implementing electoral reforms as required under the Sadc guidelines and principles on the conduct of democratic elections. He said there was too little time for adequate preparation before the election in March and called for a postponement, a call which Mugabe and his Foreign Affairs minister Stan Mudenge have scoffed at.


The MDC leader is also expected to tell Sadc leaders that Mugabe’s government continues its political repression and human rights abuses, citing the NGO Bill currently before parliament.