Mugabe brought it upon himself

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PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe emerged from yet another Sadc summit on Zimbabwe’s political problems on Saturday a bruised man.

Southern Eye Editorial

The Maputo summit forced Mugabe to climb down from his unilateral decision to call for elections on July 31 and seek a two-week extension from the Constitutional Court, which might mean elections are held after August 14.

Regional leaders were convinced by arguments put forward by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC leader Welshman Ncube at the summit that last week’s unilateral proclamation of election dates was not only illegal, but was also against the spirit of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Zanu PF activists will be on overdrive this week just like they did after the Livingstone and Sadc summits, trying to claim victory in the aftermath of the Maputo reversal.

Despite the fact that two weeks may be a very short time to conclude outstanding reforms and that the Constitutional Court can still give a judgment that does not favour free and fair elections, the outcome of the summit is a moral victory for Zimbabweans.

Zanu PF hardliners have once again been forcefully reminded that Sadc can no longer embrace political leaders who trample on the Constitution and do not respect the rule of law.

The Maputo resolutions also mean that the ongoing voter registration that would have been disrupted by the July 31 poll proclamation can now run smoothly and end before nomination day.

Sadc has once again come to the rescue of long-suffering Zimbabweans.
There is now hope that the harmonised elections will be free and fair after the regional leaders endorsed South African President Jacob Zuma’s report calling for meaningful reforms before the polls.

We could not agree more with Mugabe when he said the Sadc resolution was a “happy outcome” for Zimbabwe.

However, we hope the Zanu PF leader will see it fit to take to task his advisors who keep making it a point that he is humiliated at such fora by giving him wrong advice. It is clear that the unilateral July 31 proclamation was unnecessary as it came barely two days after Cabinet had unanimously passed amendments to the Electoral Act.

Instead of taking the amendments to Parliament, Mugabe chose to listen to poisoned advice from the usual suspects, choosing to use a decree.

The President also chose to belittle his GPA partners at the last hurdle by not consulting them on the election date and the consequences were disastrous as he left Maputo very embarrassed.