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Sadc puts foot down over reforms

SADC leaders are standing firm and insisting on the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and its attendant poll roadmap as President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF get increasingly desperate to railroad the country to general elections when the tenure of the coalition government expires next month.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

While Mugabe and his party have instructed their negotiator in GPA talks, Patrick Chinamasa, to come up with a “roadmap” to elections ahead of the June 29 end of the inclusive government, Sadc leaders want negotiators to revisit the original roadmap to complete it before free and fair elections.

Sadc facilitator to Zimbabwe, South African President Jacob Zuma, backed by most of his regional colleagues, has remained steadfast in his demands that the GPA roadmap and reforms, including restraining security service chiefs from dabbling in politics, must be implemented in full.

Zuma’s international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, who is part of the facilitation team that also includes Mac Maharaj and Charles Nqakula, yesterday said the regional bloc is expecting a revised document of the elections roadmap from the negotiators.

“The next step that Sadc has said over and over is the development of a roadmap that contains issues in the GPA. There is the need to take the old roadmap created two years ago, develop it and see what it is they have implemented since it was adopted and then develop the final one with important benchmarks that will ensure free and fair elections,” Zulu told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday.

This came as Mugabe last week said Chinamasa alone, excluding Constitutional Affairs minister Eric Matinenga, was now working on the roadmap. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had recently announced Chinamasa and Matinenga were tasked by principals to develop a roadmap to elections.

This was, however, rejected by Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube, who is MDC leader, as his party did not have a representative on the team.

A Sadc Troika on politics, defence and security meeting held in Cape Town, South Africa, last week urged GPA parties to “finalise the outstanding issues in the implementation of the GPA and prepare for holding free and fair elections”.

Although the new draft constitution was passed by parliament this week, Sadc is demanding that before elections are held, not only the new constitution has to be in place, but there must also be full implementation of the rest of the GPA.

The Sadc facilitation team wants a progress report on the elections roadmap agreed on some time ago by all three parties to the GPA and endorsed by regional leaders at their summits.

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