Tsvangirai outfoxes Mugabe


PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent regional diplomatic offensive has paid off following a resolution by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to convene an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe ahead of the make-or-break elections later this year.

DUMISANI SIBANDA                           

The summit, whose date is yet to be set, would review the implementation of outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that ushered in the inclusive government.

Tsvangirai last month undertook a diplomatic tour to push Sadc leaders to Press President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to implement outstanding issues in the GPA.

He urged the regional bloc to convene a special summit on Zimbabwe to ensure free and fair elections.

The State media had dismissed Tsvangirai tour as an exercise in futility.

But in an interview yesterday, Sadc facilitator South Africa President Jacob Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu said Zimbabwe was discussed at a Sadc meeting on the sidelines of the African Union summit golden jubilee celebrations in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the weekend.

“It was agreed that a summit of the Sadc heads of State be held where the issue of Zimbabwe will be discussed,” Zulu said.

“That summit will receive a progress report on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement following the
constitutional process.

“It will clear the way ahead for elections. The three political parties in the government will have to agree on the roadmap to elections.

“They have to agree on what has to happen prior to the elections, during the elections and after the elections. The date of the summit has not been set, but the meeting will be held soon.”

The latest development flies in Mugabe’s claims that Sadc had given Zimbabwe “the nod” to hold the elections and that the planned extraordinary summit was merely to raise funding for holding the polls.

Mugabe told Zanu PF supporters on his return at the Harare International Airport on Monday that Sadc had resolved to hold the summit to solely raise funds for the elections following the successful completion of the new Constitution.
But Zulu said: “There is no way the issue of funding elections can be looked into in isolation.

“The funding will come from Zimbabwe itself. Zimbabweans will say if they need funding assistance.”

Zanu PF had all along insisted that the harmonised elections would be held on June 29 when the life of the current Parliament expires, while the MDC parties insist on the fulfillment of outstanding issues such as security sector and media reforms first.

Tsvangirai yesterday welcomed Sadc’s decision on Zimbabwe.

“It’s a welcome development. The Prime Minister welcomes any summit on Zimbabwe.

“But definitely the summit will not just be about discussing the funding of the elections.

“It will obviously look at issues around the hygiene issues . . . the environment for holding the elections,” his spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said.

“It will look at issues to do with the implementation of the reforms required under the GPA before the holding of free and fair elections.

“Remember Sadc are the guarantors of the GPA and from the onset their mandate was to help Zimbabwe have free and fair polls.”

MDC spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube also welcomed the development.

“You remember that our president Welshman Ncube wrote to Sadc detailing all the issues that are outstanding, but necessary for the holding of free and fair elections and that is what we want the special summit to attend to,” he said.

On March 28, Ncube wrote to the Sadc troika chairman Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete saying his party was being excluded from the process of drawing up the roadmap to the elections.

He said there was need for full implementation of the GPA as a precondition for holding free and fair polls.
“That summit will receive a progress report on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement following the