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Sadc leaders lose faith in MDC parties

SADC leaders are beginning to view the two MDC formations as part of the problem in Zimbabwe for abandoning their push for the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) resolutions and their failure to articulate issues with one voice ahead of tomorrow’s constitutional referendum and general elections around July.
Faith Zaba

Although MDC-T leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dispatched his party’s secretary for international relations Jameson Timba to Sadc capitals with evidence of resurgent violence two weeks ago, it has emerged Sadc leaders are not impressed by the MDC parties’ failure to push for the implementation of their resolutions ahead of the elections.

Sadc has made key resolutions on Zimbabwe, including implementation of an election roadmap at its summits in Windhoek, Namibia, Livingstone, Zambia, Maputo, Mozambique and Sandton, South Africa, which the MDC parties have seemingly dropped at the weekly principals forum and cabinet meetings or in parliament.

At the Windhoek summit in 2010, Sadc leaders adopted a report by South African President Jacob Zuma, which called for implementation of 24 agreed GPA items to lay the basis for free and fair elections.

These included media reforms, security sector reforms on a continuous basis, regularisation of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, appointment of a new Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation board and a re-constitution of the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust, all within a month. However, most of these have remained unimplemented.

At the March 2011 summit in Livingstone, Sadc resolved to deploy a taskforce team to work with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) in monitoring and evaluating the full implementation of the GPA.

But Zanu PF has successfully blocked deployment of the team arguing that Zimbabwe is a sovereign state. The team only arrived this week for the referendum.

The Maputo summit recognised MDC leader, Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube as a political principal but he has been blocked in relevant meetings.

Diplomatic sources told Zimbabwe Independent in separate interviews this week Sadc leaders feel the MDC leaders have become too comfortable in government, forgetting their presence was meant to create an environment conducive for credible, free and fair elections.

“Sadc has done a lot for Zimbabwe,” said one diplomat. “It has been firm and resolute, but we are disappointed with the MDC parties which have not been pushing strongly enough for the necessary reforms that would allow for free and fair elections.”

“Resolution after resolution has been adopted by Sadc but up to now, the three parties in the inclusive government have chosen to ignore them. These resolutions are very clear and there are even timelines to them, but months before critical elections little has been implemented.”

“What more do you want Sadc to do? Nothing is being implemented and the parties that are supposed to be pushing are quiet and focusing on the constitution and referendum. What about other reforms?” the diplomat said.

The sources said to their surprise, Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC speak with one voice at joint meetings with Sadc facilitators indicating the situation has improved and everything is progressing smoothly, but the MDC groups complain of an uneven playing field and escalation of political violence in separate meetings.

The sources pointed to last week’s joint meeting between the three parties and Zuma’s facilitation team led by Lindiwe Zulu.

A Zanu PF official who attended the meeting said: “Everything went on very smoothly and it was just a routine meeting. We all spoke with one voice on the progress made so far.”
However, MDC secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (pictured) said her party had briefed the South African facilitation team about its concerns on the lethargic pace of reforms in a separate meeting.

“We told the facilitators we believe one area we have failed in is implementing governance reforms,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

The MDC also told Zuma’s team it was unhappy with the recent appointments of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairpersons. The party is also unhappy Ncube was not consulted before the appointment of Supreme Court judge, Justice Rita Makarau as new Zec chairperson, and the installation of former Zanu PF politburo member Jacob Mudenda as ZHRC chairperson. The MDC-T recently told the facilitation team the security situation was deteriorating, citing the death of 12-year old Christpower Maisiri in a mysterious inferno three weeks ago in Headlands.

Tsvangirai only sent Timba into the region to lobby for a regional extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe following a recent crackdown on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and Christpower’s murder, but regional leaders were dismayed that he had sent a junior minister.

They believed this showed his “lack of seriousness” and view it as a reflection of the MDC-T’s internal power dynamics showing who Tsvangirai really trusts.

Timba met Malawian President Joyce Banda and foreign ministers of Botswana and Tanzania a fortnight ago.

Sadc leaders have been demanding President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube should implement the agreed elections roadmap, including all necessary reforms, before the next polls.

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