Mugabe Sadc election shuts out MDC-T

President Robert Mugabe’s election as Sadc deputy chairperson, has strengthened his and Zanu PF’s influence on the regional bloc and effectively closed all avenues for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T to air out its grievances, analysts have said.

Nqobile Bhebhe

Sadc leaders elected Mugabe as deputy chairman while Malawi’s President Joyce Banda will hold the rotational chairpersonship.

Mugabe’s election means Zimbabwe will become part of the Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Co-operation and is lined up to host the next Sadc summit next year.

Analysts said the election could be seen as a major victory for Mugabe, as he will use his influence in shaping the Sadc agenda and focus more on regional infrastructural development and shy away from politics.

Dumisani Nkomo, the chief executive officer of Habakkuk Trust, said MDC-T should forget about Sadc and re-group for the 2018 elections.

Nkomo said MDC-T had in the past four years, under the Global Political Agreement, failed to press regional leaders to decisively act on the political situation.
“The only way forward for Morgan Tsvangirai and MDC-T is to completely forget about Sadc in solving what they call the political crisis in Zimbabwe” he said.

“Instead of wasting their time by rushing to Sadc, they should quickly begin a deep introspection on the July 31 election, look at their shortcomings and engage in more vigorous grassroots mobilisation and leadership renewal to some extent.”

Nkomo said MDC-T had glaring diplomatic approach deficiencies, in that it failed to realise that Sadc was more concerned with regional stability than democracy.

Bulawayo Agenda director Thabani Nyoni echoed Nkomo’s sentiments that MDC-T and other opposition parties should not vest too much hope on regional bodies.

“The election of Mugabe as deputy chair of Sadc has strengthened Zanu PF’s influence in the regional body and that is crucial for them,” he said.

“MDC-T and other progressive parties should now realise that they should not bank on regional bodies, but realise that the influential people are the citizens of Zimbabwe. They should extensively mobilise the citizens.”

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