Sadc must stand firm

GIVEN that Sadc has been battling to resolve the Zimbabwe political stalemate for over a decade now, the regional summit postponed from this weekend to a date yet to be announced, although some say it would now be next week in Pretoria, South Africa, provides the opportunity for sub-regional leaders to ensure free and fair elections in the country to fix the situation once and for all.

Zimbabwe Independent Editorial

Whatever the date of the summit, Sadc, as the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and attendant elections roadmap, must discharge its responsibility without fear or favour to ensure peaceful and credible polls in the country.

Zimbabwe must move forward. In the same vein, Zimbabwe’s national and party political leaders must stop being irresponsible and help the processes to prepare for free and fair elections with the assistance of Sadc acting on its own behalf and on behalf of the African Union.

Despite nationalist posturing by some political actors in our midst who want to scare away regional leaders from performing their duties to help Zimbabwe hold peaceful and credible elections, Sadc must keep its feet on the ground and decisively tackle the situation to end the current political stalemate and give the country a chance to concentrate on economic and social recovery.

It is clear President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF want to stampede the nation into elections without fulfilling their GPA and roadmap obligations, including media and security reforms, conveniently forgetting why they ended in a coalition government. Zimbabwe cannot afford to hold another disputed election after all that the country and the people went through in the decade preceding 2009.

Only callous political brutes and their surrogates would want the country to be pushed into elections without regard for what happens afterwards.

So Sadc should seize the moment to assist Zimbabwe hold free and fair elections.

For those with a genuine national interest, not greedy political robber barons guided by power, plunder and personal aggrandisement, it does not matter who wins so long as they will serve the people and safeguard the country’s goals and ambitions.

The Sadc summit will come as Zimbabwe is struggling to finalise election preparations.

Even if Zanu PF anarchists want us to believe the country is ready for the polls, the fact is there are some critical issues such as voters’ registration and alignment of legislation to the new constitution that still need to be done.
Although the Constitutional Court has ordered polls to be held by July 31, it does not remove the fact that certain legal issues and processes must still be addressed to ensure progressive elections.

While the court ruling must be respected in the spirit of constitutionalism, upholding the constitution and the rule of law, Sadc must not allow itself to be held hostage to the extent of failing to appreciate the broader political context and its main mission to help the country out of this debilitating stalemate.

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