Sadc summit: Zanu PF, MDCs poles apart

August 13, 2011 at 7:27 am Leave a comment

Faith Zaba

ZANU PF and the two MDC formations came out miles apart yesterday on what
the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) should do at its annual
summit in Luanda, Angola, to end the decade-long political crisis in
While the summit is another opportunity for the MDC formations, one led by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the smaller one headed by Professor
Welshman Ncube, to push President Robert Mugabe to fully implement the
global political agreement, Zanu PF says the only thing that Sadc can do is
to advise and suggest ways of dealing with the outstanding issues.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the MDCs expected too much from Sadc,
forgetting that the regional body could not dictate anything to Zimbabwe
because it was a sovereign state.

“It is naivety. They don’t understand or they don’t know how the regional
body works. Sadc cannot get a whip and tell President Mugabe what to do. The
sooner they realise that the solution comes from us — it comes from internal
political parties the better”, he said.

“The least that Sadc can do is to advise and suggest certain ways of doing
things. We don’t expect Sadc to do anything because we are a sovereign state
and we can’t have anyone dictating to us what to do.”

But MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said Sadc should help Zimbabwe
address critical issues that have not been agreed on such as security sector
reforms, restaffing of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and putting
an end to state-sponsored violence, which he added were fundamental in
ensuring that fresh elections are credible, free and fair.

“There has not been any implementation or movement since the last summit at
Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa, in July and since the last Sadc
summit in Nambia. Sadc has to act now,” Mwonzora said.

“Sadc has to help us address the outstanding issues and put pressure on Zanu
PF and Mugabe to do what is right. Zanu PF has been acting in bad faith.”
Mwonzora said there were three key principles in the roadmap to free and
fair elections, which the political parties in the inclusive government have
failed to agree on.

He said without addressing the three key issues — security sector reforms,
restaffing of ZEC and state sponsored violence — the roadmap would be
incomplete and could not be adopted by Sadc in its current state.

On security sector reforms, the two MDC formations’ position is that the
securocrats should issue a public statement stating that they will
unequivocally uphold the constitution and respect the rule of law in the
countdown to and after an election or referendum, while Zanu PF contends
this issue was not an election matter.

MDC-N’s position is that the military personnel should go back to the
barracks, while MDC-T says there should be a demilitarisation of state
institutions and the withdrawal of other security personnel unlawfully
deployed countrywide.

Mwonzora said: “There is a lack of understanding on what is meant by
security sector reform. This is a deliberate misunderstanding by Zanu PF.
Zanu PF wants to posture security sector reform as an attempt to interfere
with the command of the military — that is not the case.

“Security sector reform is meant to remove bias, partisanship and
unprofessionalism on the part of the securocrats.”

However, Gumbo disagrees, saying the issue should not even be brought before
Sadc for discussion.

“Security sector reform is a no go area. We don’t expect security issues to
be discussed by political parties and we don’t expect Sadc to discuss it,”
said Gumbo.

Top military officials have declared that they will not salute anyone
without war credentials. The most recent pronouncement was made by commander
of 3 Infantry battalion, Brigadier-general Douglas Nyikayaramba, who said
Tsvangirai will never rule this country.

Gumbo also said another issue that should not be discussed is the restaffing
of the ZEC.

“That is another issue that is out of the discussion. As political parties,
we can’t be appointing ZEC personnel — they should forget about it,” said

While MDC-T wants the recruitment of ZEC staff to be done afresh, MDC-N says
ZEC staff hiring must be non-partisanship and transparent.

Mwonzora said: “On the staffing at ZEC, MDC believes that an election is a
civilian process and as such it must be presided over by a civilian
institution in the form of ZEC.

“ZEC must be manned by a completely civilian and non-partisan secretariat.
The current staff was singularly appointed by Zanu PF.”

“So it will be impossible to have free and fair elections with that kind of
a secretariat.”


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