According to insiders, Mugabe’s requests to completely throw away the Livingstone resolutions were flatly rejected by the mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma.
Insiders said Mugabe gave a very long speech trying to justify why the Livingstone recommendations should be shot down. Insiders further said on finishing his long speech, one of Mugabe’s close aides in the meeting rushed to communicate this view to Caeser Zvayi of the state owned Herald and Reuben Barwe of the ZBC as the view of the SADC meeting.
This view was later contradicted by the executive secretary of SADC, Tomaz Salamao, who read a communiqué of what had transpired in the 3 hour meeting on Sunday night and later answered questions from journalists.
“The SADC Troika Organ is a treaty of the institution and no -one has the right to reverse its decisions,” he said clarifying on what he meant by the fact that the Johannesburg meeting had noted the Livingstone recommendations. “The deliberations of the Troika Organ are final,” he said.
He said what this means is that the political parties in Zimbabwe should proceed to work on the elections road map and other recommendations made in Livingstone, Zambia in March and finalise them.
The West and the European Union will continue to be encouraged to remove sanctions on Zimbabwe.
Mugabe shunned the media and left the Sandton Convention Centre, the venue of the special meeting, looking visibly angry.
Insiders alleged Mugabe’s officers left with a draft communiqué, which did not capture everything that transpired at the meeting so it could cause ‘confusion to the world’.
“Mugabe was highly humiliated by Zuma today,” confirmed one insider who did not want to be named.
Lindiwe Zulu, the South African President, a member of Jacob Zuma’s facilitator on Zimbabwe told Radio VOP in an interview:“the meeting had mixed feelings with some expressing displeasure and discomfort”, a comment believed to be referring to Mugabe.
The meeting was said to be attended by four officials from each political party. Mugabe was accompanied by among others, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. Those who attended from the Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement of Democratic Change included, Tsvangirai, Finance Minister and Secretary General of the party, Tendai Biti, Organising Secretary, Nelson Chamisa, Jameson Timba and Elton Mangoma. Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga were among those that represented the smaller MDC faction while Arthur Mutambara left before the meeting started.
However Salamao confirmed that Mutambara had left because of the internal struggles of their party, the smaller faction of the MDC, and SADC did not want to be involved because the matter is still before the courts.
Mutambara, who is one of the three principals who signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA), insists he still heads the MDC and has refused to step down as the deputy prime minister of Zimbabwe to pave way for Ncube.
The SADC meeting on Zimbabwe started around 6pm after SADC heads of states and their representatives had finished a Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) meeting which launched a Free Trade Area, and ended around 9pm.
Tsvangirai also left without addressing the media, although his officials availed themselves for interviews. The MDC formations were happy by the mere fact that the Livingstone resolutions had been endorsed, paving way for implementation. They were pleased by the fact that Zuma had insisted there was no going back on the Livingstone resolutions.
The Livingstone document basically sought to end violence, called on the full implementation of the GPA, the drawing up of an election road map and the appointment of a three member delegation from the Troika of the Organ 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 next SADC summit is expected to be in August in Luanda, Angola. It is also expected that the Zimbabwe political parties would have finalised time lines for elections and implemented fully the outstanding issues of the GPA.
Some of the outstanding issues of the GPA includes the conclusion of media reforms particularly the broadcasting sector, security reforms, clean up of the voters’ roll, finalisation of the constitution and the holding of the referendum.
Political analysts however feared that implementation of the Livingstone resolutions will remain a challenge if animosity between MDC parties and Zanu (PF) continues.
“It means the struggle continues and it also means that Zuma and his team need to continue to push harder for a solution. If the strict stance taken by Zuma at this meeting continues, then Zimbabwe is on a sure road to change,” said one political commentator. “This will only work if SADC enforces what it agrees upon and not to leave it to the parties to solve the problems on their own because that will be an enormous challenge. For example it is difficult to see how Zanu (PF) can agree to the resolutions endorsed by the summit when its leader wanted the resolutions completely thrown away.”