SADC Sets Zimbabwe Elections Guideline For Next Year

Radio VOP has it on good authority that the SADC troika on defence and politics which met in Windhoek on Sunday resolved that for Zimbabwe to progress there has to be one leader elected through a free and fair election which produces credible results.

The meeting was chaired by Mozambican president Armando Guebuza and also in attendance was mediator President Jacob Zuma of South Africa and the three principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) – President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara.

 Negotiators to the deal from the three warring parties in the inclusive government also attended the meeting where Zuma presented a report on Zimbabwe in which he outlined that the country was making steady progress although a few outstanding issues remain unresolved.

The principals were also given a month to ensure that they implement to the full the GPA.

“It was a great meeting and the summary of it all is that SADC want elections to be held next year. The region actually wanted to supervise the elections to ensure that there is no violence, intimidation and vote rigging but Mugabe begged to have the elections run by a local body.

“It would obviously be embarrassing to have foreigners running an election but some in SADC feel that it is the only way to ensure transparency given the mistrust among the political leaders in Zimbabwe. SADC wants stability in Zimbabwe and they are really turning the screw on Mugabe.

“Mutambara was obviously opposing elections because he knows he will be completely obliterated. Mugabe is also reluctant to go for free and fair elections as he is certain to lose.

“But SADC has been patient enough and they are insisting on elections next year. But first there has to be a referendum on the on-going constitutional process then we move to elections,” said a source who is in Namibia attending the SADC summit.

The move by SADC comes as it emerges that Zanu (PF) and the MDC has finally agreed that provincial governors should be sworn in shortly while there seems to be agreement that a new attorney general should be appointed to replace Johannes Tomana.

Zuma’s report on Zimbabwe is reported to have touched on various issues including the successes and failures of the implementation of the GPA so far.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa welcomed the news of the elections and said the MDC wanted free and fair elections so that the people are able to chose a leader of their choice.

“If SADC said they want elections in Zimbabwe next year then it is most welcome because that is what the people of Zimbabwe have been waiting for all this time,” said Chamisa.

The issue of elections and the remaining outstanding issues are expected to be announced in a communiqué to be issued at the end of the SADC summit of heads of state.

Tsvangirai, Mutambara and their delegations left Namibia on Sunday as Monday was reserved for the heads of state summit.