THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Crisis Report Issue 202
    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
    July 23, 2013

    Download this document
    - Acrobat PDF version (597KB)
    If you do not have the free Acrobat reader on your computer, download it from the Adobe website by clicking here

    SADC Troika meets on Zimbabwe…expresses hope of redress for special vote challenges

    The Southern African Development Community (SADC) held a Summit of the Organ on Defence, Politics and Security Cooperation in Pretoria on July 20, ostensibly to deal with DRC, Madagascar and Zimbabwe. The meeting was chaired by His Excellency President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

    The meeting was also attended by Mozambican President and SADC Chairperson Armando Guebuza, South African President, Jacob Zuma, Namibian Foreign Affairs Minister Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwa, as well as the Executive Secretary of SADC, Dr. Tomaz Augusto Salomao. The meeting released an unrevealing post summit communiqué, where on Zimbabwe they, “… noted the problems that arose during the special vote on 14-15 July 2013 and would like to commend ZEC for taking these up as challenges to be overcome on the 31st of July, and called upon all political parties to cooperate as fully as possible with ZEC in order to ensure that it is able to meet these challenges.”

    The unrevealing communiqué has had some Zimbabweans worried that SADC is tracking back on its hard but progressive stance from Maputo where clear reforms were articulated as being prerequisites before the elections, while others believe that SADC has now given President Robert Mugabe a long rope by which to hang himself. McDonald Lewanika, the Director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, urged caution in reading the Summits communiqué.

    “Our experience with SADC has shown us that Communiqués are public notes that are always devoid of details and only serve to highlight key issues that were discussed without necessarily sharing details. If one wants to understand or judge the meeting, one needs to be privy to the deliberations and minutes of the meetings.

    “At the moment, thinking that SADC has thrown in the towel on Zimbabwe or has given ZEC a ‘get out of jail free card’, while understandable, is clearly the conclusion reached by those who choose to ignore that the Summit was held because the region is concerned about the developments on the ground and would like to see ZEC and other electoral stakeholders take corrective action ahead of July 31.

    “The electoral train is in motion, and SADC has deployed its biggest observer delegation (over 600) to Zimbabwe in history, led by Tanzania. The leaders had a responsibility to be measured in terms of what they put out to the public, without preempting their own observer mission, which has been on the ground since April, and launched on Tuesday the 9th of June.”

    Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson Thabani Nyoni said: “The important thing to note is that Zimbabwe is clearly still within SADC’s radar, and while the public communication through the communiqué may suggest that SADC has taken a diplomatic expedient route in mediating the process in Zimbabwe, it is clear that they are aware and seized with the challenges experienced in the electoral process so far.

    “The only challenge is that the weak wording of the communiqué may embolden Zanu-PF’s strategy to prevent a free, transparent and credible election, thinking that the region has taken its foot off the peddle.”

    National Association of Non Governmental Organisations (NANGO) Secretary General Michael Mabwe - despite the confusing signal from SADC, said it remained praiseworthy that the regional bloc kept its radar trained on Zimbabwe. He emphasized that the will of the people must be respected in the election.

    “SADC must be commended for remaining seized with the Zimbabwean issue as we move towards the elections. Strong measures must be taken to make sure that the chaos that we witnessed when the special vote was conducted is not repeated because if that happens many people will fail to cast their votes and already the voter registration process, which saw them failing to register, negatively affected many.

    “It is of paramount importance that the will of the people must be reflected in the results that will be announced thus all measures necessary must be put in place to make sure that the people’s vote is not stolen, and ZEC must especially make sure that the will of the people is respected,” Mabwe said.

    The SADC Troika Summit of the Organ on Defense, Politics and Security Cooperation held in Pretoria in South Africa on Saturday July 20 praised the political parties for being committed to a “peaceful environment” and encouraged the parties to work towards “credible elections”.

    The SADC Troika called on all political parties to cooperate as fully as possible with ZEC in order to ensure that it is able to meet challenges experienced so far.

    Speaking in June, last month at the Press Club in Bulawayo, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Regional Information and Advocacy Coordinator Joy Mabenge foreclosed the possibility that Zimbabweans would accept peaceful election that had been manipulated, insisting, “We want the whole package”.

    Download full document

    Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe fact sheet

    Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.