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  • SADC Summit: Windhoek 15th-17th August - Bill Watch 31/2010
    August 19, 2010

    Zuma Report on Zimbabwe to the SADC Summit

    Report Endorsed by Troika and Summit: The two-day SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government was preceded by a meeting of the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation chaired by President Guebuza of Mozambique, at which President Zuma presented his Facilitator’s report on the Zimbabwe negotiations. Minister of Finance Tendai Biti, who was present at the Troika meeting and at the Summit, told a press conference in Harare on 17th August that the entire report was adopted by the Troika and in turn endorsed by the Summit.

    Contents of Facilitator’s Report: The report charts the course of the negotiations from the SADC Extraordinary Summit in Pretoria in January 2009 and the Troika Summit in Maputo in November 2009 through to the meetings between the three party principals on 8th June and 4th August this year, and it concludes with the Facilitator’s vision for the road ahead and his recommendations. It records that at their meeting on 8th June the three principals [President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara] agreed on 24 of the 27 points that had been the subject of negotiations after the Maputo Summit. This was reported to the Facilitator. On the 4th August, following further visits to Harare by members of the South African facilitation team, they met again and produced an “implementation matrix” for the matters agreed on and prepared a statement listing the items agreed and not agreed.

    [Note: The report is the first official public notification of these “secret negotiations” affecting the whole country. Until now the public has had to be content with press “leaks” of unknown reliability. The report does not list all 24 agreed items, but some are disclosed by its description of the implementation matrix - see below.]

    Implementation Matrix for 24 Agreed Items: The report highlights aspects of the implementation matrix, including:

    • Minister of Justice to expedite legislation for the Human Rights Commission and to initiate steps to establish the Anti-Corruption Commission immediately
    • Minister of Economic Planning to see to establishment within a month of the National Economic Council
    • Minister of Lands to finalise establishment of Lands Audit Commission within a month
    • The setting of a time-frame of two months for the definition of a land tenure system guaranteeing security of tenure and collateral value of land
    • Minister of Justice to start the process immediately for signing and gazetting of Constitution Amendment No. 19 “as approved by Parliament” [This signals acceptance of the proposition that the Amendment No. 19 under which the Inclusive Government has been operating since February last year was an unauthorised abridged version of the Bill passed by Parliament - see Bill Watch 6/2009 of 24th February 2009.]
    • Minister of Justice to deal immediately with the completion of amendments to the Electoral Act
    • Regularisation of Broadcasting Authority board, appointment of new Zimbabwe Broadcasting Board and constitution of Media Trust, all within a month

    3 Items Not Agreed. These have to be resolved within one month. The report lists these:

    • the appointment of the Attorney-General
    • the appointment of the Reserve Bank Governor
    • the swearing-in of Senator Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture. [Note on the State’s appeal in the Bennett case: On 28th July the Chief Justice, having heard argument from both sides on the State’s application for leave to appeal against Senator Bennett’s acquittal on banditry and terrorism charges, said he would give his decision at a later date and warned that the great length of the court record made it unlikely this would be any time soon.]

    Provincial governors the report records that the principals reported that “while agreeing on the appointment formula recommended to us by the GPA negotiators, we have resolved that this matter be addressed simultaneously and concurrently with the sanctions removal strategy”. [See below for Minister Biti’s comment on this issue.]

    Facilitator’s “Road Map”: Under the heading “Road Ahead” the report mentions that delays have prolonged the normalisation process unnecessarily, but says that if the agreement on the 24 items is implemented that would lay the basis for the holding of free and fair elections whose results would be acceptable to all. No date for the elections is proposed. There is also a call for the guarantors of the peace process, namely SADC and the Facilitator, to play an active role in taking Zimbabwe forward to “her ultimate goal of the formation of a government whose credentials would be beyond question”.

    Recommendations: The report concludes with three recommendations:

    • The outstanding matters should be discussed by the parties, assisted by the Troika, and resolved within one month in “accordance with the law and any other relevant instruments”
    • The Inclusive Government and the parties should find an “uninterrupted path towards free and fair elections and the removal of impediments as and when they arise”
    • The Troika should persuade SADC to help Zimbabwe to draw up guidelines for a free asnd fair elecltion where intimidation and violence would not play any part and where the result of such elections would be credible.

    Minister Biti’s Press Conference

    MDC-T Secretary-General Tendai Biti held a press conference on 17th August to explain MDC-Ts position on the SADC Summit. He described the meeting as “important in defining key milestones and signposts to the end-game of the GPA”, pointing out that as all parties accept that the inclusive government is a transitional arrangement “it was imperative to define an orderly process for exit. In short, an iron-clad roadmap to legitimacy.”

    On provincial governors he said that as the terms of office of the incumbents expired at the end of July MDC-T now expected the President to make new appointments, with the agreement of the Prime Minister, in accordance with the formula agreed by the negotiators and endorsed by the principals. [The formula is 5 for MDC-T, 4 for ZANU-PF and 1 for MDC-M.]

    Other MDC-T concerns:

    • Unilateralism: Here Mr Biti cited President Mugabe’s unilateral appointment of judges and ambassadors in breach of the GPA; and the alteration of Ministerial T
    • “Toxic Issues”: Here Mr Biti referred to the “persistent and pernicious hate speech” in the State press and other media, the “infamous jingles” being broadcast by Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and the “continued debasement” of the office of the Prime Minister.

    Summit Communiqué

    The Summit communiqué skates over the details of Summit decisions in rather bland language. Minister Biti said at his press conference that the communiqué is a summary rather than a precise record of decisions reached.

    On the Zimbabwe negotiations the Summit communiqué states that the Summit commended the efforts of the GPA parties and President Zuma as facilitator, reiterated the SADC call for the lifting of Western sanctions and “urged the Zimbabwe stakeholders to remain committed to the implementation of the GPA”.

    Sanctions: The Summit reiterated its call for Western sanctions to be lifted and tasked the new SADC chairperson, Namibian President Pohamba, to engage the international community on the sanctions issue.

    On the SADC Tribunal the communiqué, without referring to Zimbabwe or its rejection of the Tribunal as a “legal nullity” or to the Tribunal’s contempt rulings against Zimbabwe, records that the Summit decided that a review of the role, functions and terms of reference of the SADC Tribunal should be undertaken and concluded within 6 months. Justice Minister Chinamasa said on Tuesday that the Tribunal has been suspended pending completion of the review, but SADC Executive Secretary Salomao has denied this, explaining that while the Tribunal will not entertain any new cases for the time being, it can deal with those cases it already has. [Note: Mr Chinamasa has throughout stuck to his line that the Tribunal is a “legal nullity” because its establishment has not been ratified by member States in accordance with the SADC Treaty. His contentions on this issue were decisively rejected by the Zimbabwe High Court in the Gramara case.]

    Party Reactions to Summit

    At his press conference on 17th August Minister Biti said MDC-T was “reasonably pleased”. The other GPA parties have also welcomed the Summit outcome. It remains to be seen whether this will translate into prompt action as regards implementation of agreed issues and resolution of the three outstanding matters. And it is to be hoped that the one-month “deadline” - which presumably runs from the 17th August, when the Facilitator’s report was endorsed by the full Summit - will not prove to be as flexible as previous SADC deadlines.

    Date for New Elections?

    Although the Facilitator’s report envisages the holding of free and fair election as the final step towards the formation of a government whose credentials will be beyond question, and the impression is given they must be soon, neither the report nor the Summit communiqué suggests a date for the next presidential and general elections.

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