Comment: Sadc Summit Lays Bare Zanu PF’s Deception

THE Sadc organ on politics, defence and security last Thursday in Maputo for the first time since its inception stood up against President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF by ordering them to own up to the global political agreement (GPA) and the regional bloc’s January 27 communiqué that set out timelines for the inception of the inclusive government and outlined outstanding issues of the unity pact.

Mugabe went to Maputo screaming and kicking after the organ called for the mini-summit to save the shaky inclusive government following Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC party’s partially withdrawal from the government for three weeks to protest Zanu PF’s intransigence to resolve sticking points in the GPA.

Despite dissembling propaganda from the state-controlled media and hired Zanu PF spin doctors, the Sadc troika found the ageing Mugabe culpable in refusing to deal with the issues threatening the life of the government of national unity.

The 30-day deadline imposed by the organ for the resolution of the sticking points will show to the world whether or not Mugabe and Zanu PF have reformed after the Maputo meeting and exhibit their sincerity to the full consummation of the GPA and the January 27 communiqué.

Tsvangirai and his party emerged much stronger from the summit given that the Sadc troika accepted his case against Mugabe and set a deadline for the resolution of the outstanding issues.

It was a victory for Tsvangirai on five fronts.

The MDC-T scored the first victory when the troika convened the Maputo mini-summit despite Mugabe insisting that the disengagement and other issues of the GPA should be resolved internally. Mugabe was dragged to the mini-summit despite his protestations and claims that his party had fulfilled its bargain of the unity deal.

Secondly, the acceptance by the troika that the January 27 communiqué was part of the GPA came as a blow to Mugabe and Zanu PF who, through their propagandists, had reduced it to a mere press statement.

Mugabe’s plot not to resolve the issues surrounding the appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana and provincial governors was exposed and shamed by the acceptance of the communiqué. The communiqué sets out the outstanding issues, some of them not covered by the GPA.

Thirdly, the buy-in by the troika to issues Tsvangirai raised as sticking points of the GPA was also a victory for him and his party after Mugabe and Zanu PF had since October been bellowing to the world that the only outstanding issues were the continued imposition of sanctions by the United States, Britain and their Western allies and hostile foreign radio broadcasts into the country.

Fourthly, the troika was also in agreement with the MDC-T  in noting that little progress had been made in fulfilling some of the critical provisions of the GPA such as the inception of the National Economic Council to come up with a programme to restore economic stability and growth; and the slow pace in coming up with a solid programme for the promotion of equality, national healing, cohesion and unity.

The final victory for the MDC-T at the summit, was the troika’s decision, though not direct, to remove former South African President Thabo Mbeki as facilitator. The organ said the facilitating role was that of South Africa and, therefore, President Jacob Zuma took over from Mbeki.

Tsvangirai fought many battles and lost to have Mbeki removed as facilitator. He accused the ex-president of bias towards Mugabe and Zanu PF. The MDC-T is hopeful that Zuma will not pull its punches in dealing with Mugabe.

Zanu PF spin doctors at the weekend gave the impression that the troika had mandated the MDC-T to make sure that sanctions are removed within the 30-day deadline.

This line of propaganda is hogwash to say the least. Nowhere in the communiqué issued after the mini-summit is a resolution for the MDC-T to cause the removal of embargoes.

It would have been naïve, if not stupid, for the organ to make such a resolution because it knows that Tsvangirai and his party lacked the capacity to have the sanctions lifted. What Tsvangirai can only do is to call for their removal.

The summit simply urged “the international community to lift all forms of sanctions on Zimbabwe”.

For the avoidance of doubt, the decisions of the summit were as follows: “The political parties signatory to the GPA should engage in dialogue with immediate effect within 15 days and not beyond 30 days; the dialogue should include all the outstanding issues emanating from the implementation of GPA and Sadc communiqué of 27 January 2009; (and) the facilitator should evaluate progress and report back to the chairperson of the organ on politics, defence and security co-operation”.

It is in view of these decisions that Tsvangirai and his party announced the suspension of its partial disengagement from government.

At least now we know that Zanu PF has a regional obligation to address issues it has been trying to sweep under the carpet.

 

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