Mugabe set to escape censure in Malawi

AFTER many years of grilling and humiliation at Sadc heads of state and government meetings for systematic human rights abuses and undemocratic practices that threatened regional stability, President-elect Robert Mugabe will this weekend arrive in Lilongwe, Malawi, for a similar indaba with his head held high.

Hazel Ndebele

This follows the regional bloc’s qualified endorsement of his landslide re-election victory in the just-ended polls where he clobbered long-time archrival, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Although, the results of last month’s elections, which Tsvangirai is hotly disputing through the courts, are likely to be casually discussed, Zimbabwe is not on the agenda.

Since the controversial land reform in 2000, Zimbabwe has been high on the Sadc agenda, but with Mugabe’s latest victory, he will probably get kudos from his regional colleagues for holding a peaceful though controversial election, a departure from the bloody March 2008 scenario.

Sadc is expected to deliberate on a wide range of regional issues, including the appointment of a new leadership for the regional bloc’s secretariat.

Ironically, the Sadc summit will be held in a country where its first president Kamuzu Banda ruled for 31 years while Mugabe is still going “strong” having being in power since 1980 to date and won a new five-year term.