SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao told journalists that the Zimbabwean political parties are closer to an agreement on elections and referendum date.
“The meeting (organ troika summit) was to prepare the report of the chairperson of the organ on the review of the political situation in the region with the highlights on Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Lesotho. Though we still have challenges in Zimbabwe, they are making progress, let’s be fair to them,” said Salamao after a meeting of the SADC troika here.
“In terms of the problems leading to the referendum, they are almost in the process of reaching an agreement in terms of the date of elections and I believe that what we have to do is to encourage them to finally come out with a common date on the referendum and election,” he said.
Asked if Zuma would be relieved off his duties as the facilitator of the Zimbabwe crisis as some elements in Zanu PF have been advocating for, Salamao said: “We are not aware of that. The organ troika summit just ended now and they commended President Zuma and wish him well in his new responsibilities. If there are any concerns from the parties in Zimbabwe regarding the role of the organ and role of the mediator, I believe they will be tabled at the summit meeting.”
“The summit is the organ which has the powers to deliberate if there are any changes that have to be made. As for now we are not aware of any problem from the parties. We have heard in the past the facilitator being the chairperson and I don’t think there is a problem because he managed to discharge his duties and I think president Zuma will also be capable of discharging his duties but if there are any concerns the people are free to table them before the summit.”
The troika meeting was attended by Zuma in his capacity of the facilitator to the Zimbabwean crisis and incoming chairperson of the troika. The Mozambican president, Armando Guebuzza, a member of the troika and Zambian Deputy President George Kunda also attended. Kunda represented Zambian leader Rupiah Banda who did not attend the summit due to electoral commitments in his country where he is seeking an extension of his term in office.
The meeting which lasted about two hours was also attended by the Mozambican Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi, South African International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoane Mashabane and members of the Zimbabwean facilitation team, Lindiwe Zulu, Mac Maharaj and Charles Nqakula.
The SADC summit kicked off on Wednesday and later the regional leaders went into closed door sessions to discuss the problems in Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Lesotho, Malawi and DRC.
A communique of the outcome of the meetings will be released later on Thursday.