SADC has expressed deep concern with the overall performance of commissions established under the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by Zanu PF and the MDC formations in 2008 which gave birth to the current unity government.
Report by Herbert Moyo
In an exclusive interview with the Zimbabwe Independent during the referendum in Harare last Saturday, Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomão said he was unimpressed by the commissions’ performance and singled out the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) for its failure to fully implement its mandate.
Jomic was set up to assess the implementation of the GPA and consider steps necessary to ensure the speedy and full implementation of the agreement.
“It is not so much an issue of impediments that have come their way, but rather more of a question of attitude,” said Salomão. “They can do better and they know they can. We told them and I think they understand that they need to perform better.”
He however refused to reveal the exact details of Sadc’s communication to Jomic.
Salomão also said he was worried by the country’s deteriorating political environment and although he declined to confirm Sadc would convene an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe as demanded by the MDC formations, he hinted at action from the regional body before the general elections.
In the past month the country has witnessed an upsurge in violence, crackdown on civil society organisations and the arrest of MDC party officials, raising fears of descent into the chaos of 2008 which resulted in a sham presidential poll run-off.
“We took note of the situation but let us do things step by step. We will deal with these issues; some of them before elections and some of them after elections,” said Salomão.
Other commissions deemed ineffective in executing their mandates are the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. Prominent academic and senior research mentor at the University of the Western Cape Brian Raftopoulos laid the blame squarely at the door of Zanu PF.
“In addition to the constitutional reform process, Zanu PF has also hindered the workings of ZHRC and Jomic,” said Raftopoulos. “Zanu PF’s aim is to delegitimise the secretariat of Jomic on the grounds that it was in alliance with the MDC formations and was assisting them to extend their organisational presence throughout the country,” he said.
There has been limited movement on the implementation of agreed reforms with the only success coming belatedly in the area of constitutional reform. Zimbabweans endorsed a draft constitution which should have been finalised 18 months into the life of the coalition government formed in 2009, but took four years.
Key security sector and media reforms remain major areas of contention with Zanu PF refusing to budge.
The team of South African President Jacob Zuma — Sadc’s facilitator on Zimbabwe — is currently in the country to discuss with parties to the unity government issues pertaining to the implementation of the Sadc elections roadmap as the regional bloc moves to ensure credible polls midyear.