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Comment: Sadc summit churns out more deception

WE are not keeping our fingers crossed. And, unlike Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party, we are not jubilant either about this week’s Sadc Heads of States and Governments summit held in Namibia.

President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai are said to have agreed on 24 of the 27 outstanding issues as part of an exit strategy for a troubled and dysfunctional Government of National Unity.
President Zuma, the mediator in Zimbabwe’s crisis and his Sadc colleagues are certainly congratulating themselves for “breaking” Zimbabwe’s political impasse.
But a closer look at the Sadc summit resolutions betrays the purported agreements as a façade. It is one big pretence that has become characteristic, not only of our coalition government, but of Sadc.
Successive Sadc meetings that have touched on Zimbabwe have, in vain, tried to paint a picture of progress in dealing with Harare’s stalemate.
In the latest turn of events, coalition government partners have settled for an implementation matrix that should result in the implementation of the 24 issues agreed on within a month.
So, within 30 days we are supposed to see the establishment of an Anti-Corruption Commission, a National Economic Council and a Land Audit Commission. During the same period, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa is expected to pilot the completion of electoral amendments while a new Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings board should be appointed.
Jomic is expected to have started doing its job and the Home Affairs ministry, the parent ministry for Zimbabwe’s partisan police, should have worked means to end violence and ensure the security of persons. Are these not the issues Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed to when they signed the Global Political Agreement on September 15, 2008?
And are these not the very same issues that they have pledged to work on at successive Sadc meetings, notably the January 27 2009 extra-ordinary summit in Pretoria and the Troika meeting in Maputo on November 5, 2009. The Troika meeting’s 15-day deadline turned into a six-month marathon of disagreements that have stunted economic growth and heightened political instability.
This week’s Sadc summit, to most Zimbabweans, presented yet another display of failure and attempt to hoodwink Zimbabweans by leaders bent on protecting one of their own.
It is hard to believe that coalition government partners who have failed to agree on substantive issues since the formation of their administration in February last year will suddenly find the currency to resolve these matters before the expiry of their term, let alone in 30 days.
It is good when regional leaders nudge their colleagues to agree to work together for the common good of the nation. But it is another thing for a club of associates — for that is what Sadc is about—to lie to a whole world that things are moving again in Zimbabwe.
We have known that Sadc meetings provide a platform to legitimise Mugabe, and present him to the world as if he is doing something about Zimbabwe’s problems.
But it is incomprehensible that Tsvangirai, whose party still publicly points to harassment of its officials as an example of unfulfilled GPA commitments, is part of those leading Mugabe’s cleansing ceremony. Maybe he is out of touch with his party, but then that would be an example of bad leadership. His Harvest House information people were sending communication to the media this week on continued arrests of MPs and the alleged abduction at gunpoint of seven activists in Chimanimani. What assurances has Tsvangirai received that makes him party to such deception by Sadc and Mugabe?

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