Commenting to Radio VOP after a three hour meeting on Sunday, that only began after SADC heads of state and their representatives had finished deliberating the formation of a Free Trade Area during a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) meeting, the two parties were positive that the outcome of the meeting would see Zimbabwe moving closer to a free and fair election.
The March summit, chaired by Rupiah Bwezani Banda, Chairperson of Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation and President of Zambia resolved that there must be an immediate end of violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of GPA (Global Political Agreement); all stakeholders to the GPA should implement all the provisions of the GPA and create a conducive environment for peace, security, and free political activity.
It also resolved that the inclusive Government in Zimbabwe should complete all the steps necessary for the holding of the election including the finalisation of the constitutional amendment and the referendum and that SADC should assist Zimbabwe to formulate guidelines that will assist in holding an election that will be peaceful, free and fair, in accordance with the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.
The Troika of the Organ shall appoint a team of officials to join the Facilitation Team and work with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) to ensure monitoring, evaluation and implementation of the GPA. The Troika shall develop the Terms of Reference, time frames and provide regular progress report, the first, to be presented during the next SADC Extraordinary Summit. Summit will review progress on the implementation of GPA and take appropriate action.
Priscilla Misihairabwi of the small MDC faction told Radio VOP her party was happy with the outcome of the meeting, saying what was left was to finalise timelines before the next SADC meeting expected in Luanda, Angola in August.
“We are satisfied with the outcome,” she told Radio VOP as she walked out of the venue of the meeting together with the leader of her party, Welshman Ncube.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga would not comment on the absence of the deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara from the meeting. Mutambara is still claiming leadership to the smaller MDC faction, despite his ouster early this year when Ncube was elected president at the party’s congress.
“I think Mutambara was here in his capacity as the deputy prime minister but not as a representative of any political party,” she said.
Mutambara attended the Comesa meeting briefly on Saturday before leaving to attend the burial of Edgar Tekere, a founder member of Zanu (PF) and former friend of President Robert Mugabe who later turned foe. Tekere died in Mutare last week and declared a national hero.
Executive secretary of SADC, Tomaz Salamao, said he believed there was an internal party struggle in Mutambara’s party. “The party will decide and inform us their position. Their issues on the internal struggle are tabled in courts. We don’t want to be involved in those issues,” he said when answering a question during a press conference on the meeting’s communique which was released late Sunday night.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti who is also Secretary General of the Movement of Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai also said he was happy with the outcome of the meeting describing it as “decisive” because it reaffirmed the Livingstone declaration in March.
Biti said he beleived the appointment and deployment of the three member delegation of the troika will be done urgently and deployed to Zimbabwe to monitor the situation and work with JOMIC.
“The roadmap should now be completed with the exact time frame,” Biti told Radio VOP in an interview. He believed the roadmap would be ready to be tabled in time for the next SADC meeting in August.
“We agreed that there should be no tolerance to violence”, said Biti who was flanked with the MDC’s organising secretary Nelson Chamisa and another party official Elton Mangoma who is also Zimbabwe’s Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion.
Biti said endorsing the Livingstone recommendations and making sure that the GPA is fully implemented will give Zimbabwe a chance to make a fresh start.
At the next summit Zambia will seize to be the chair of the SADC organ Troika and South Africa will take over chairmanship. The Troika is currently composed of Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.