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Zuma's last-minute visit before the SADC summit - Bill Watch 38/2012
August 16, 2012
SADC Facilitator President Zuma’s Visit
Zuma, the SADC appointed mediator/facilitator visited Harare on
15th August, flying in late afternoon and leaving again late that
night. He met party leaders President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai
and Professor Ncube separately in Harare during the evening. This
was a hasty last-minute visit before the meeting of the SADC Summit
in Maputo. It was long awaited, as President Zuma had been expected
several times since the SADC Luanda
Summit of 1st June tasked him to assist the GPA
parties to develop an implementation mechanism and set out time
frames for the full implementation of Zimbabwe’s Roadmap to
Elections. His proposed visits were repeatedly put off by the Zimbabwean
side, but this time President Zuma insisted as he needed something
to report to SADC.
did not issue an official statement. He will report his findings
to the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation
on 16th August. The Organ does not usually issue statements but
in turn reports to the Heads of State Meeting so an official statement/communiqué
is unlikely before next Monday. He did, however, give a brief briefing
to journalists and was reported as acknowledging both some movement
forward and also “hitches”. [He described the hitches
as “not major”, an assessment with which not everyone
will agree.] President Zuma’s report to the Organ, and in
turn the Organ’s report to the full Summit, will presumably
be of only qualified progress.
Summit, Maputo 17th and 18th August
The full Summit
meeting is preceded by a meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security Cooperation scheduled for 16th August in the
afternoon. On the agenda is a report from President Zuma on the
situation in Zimbabwe. At this meeting Tanzanian President Jakaya
Kikwete will take over from President Zuma as chairperson of the
Organ. At the ceremonial opening of the Heads of State Meeting on
17th August, Mozambique President Armando Guebuza will take over
from President dos Santos of Angola as SADC chairperson before business
starts. President Zuma is expected to continue as SADC Facilitator
for Zimbabwe. The Organ will report to the Heads of State meeting
on the situation in Zimbabwe.
Concerns to be Raised at the Summit
The MDCs will
raise concerns at the SADC Summit, including:
moves to have the COPAC final draft
of the new
constitution re-negotiated to incorporate substantial changes
to provisions agreed by all party negotiators
continued stalling over media, electoral and security sector reforms.
They will cite last week’s ill disciplined disruptions
by police and soldiers of the training for the 2012 Census as
showing that Zimbabwe is not ready for free and fair elections
until there is transformation in the security sector.
The Summit has,
as usual, been preceded by meetings of Ministers from the SADC countries.
The Ministers of Justice and Attorneys-General met in Luanda in
June to finalise their report on the task assigned to them at the
Luanda Summit of 19th May 2011 – to draw up legal instruments
for the replacement of the suspended SADC Tribunal by establishing
a new Tribunal with different jurisdiction and a new membership.
They are due to report to the Summit in Maputo. Their proposal is
reported to provide for a new Tribunal which will not have the human
rights jurisdiction wielded by the suspended Tribunal. It is hoped
that, in the face of campaigns from legal associations throughout
SADC, the Summit will not revive an emasculated Tribunal.
It was one of
the key purposes, when the SADC Tribunal was set up as an independent
legal body, to ensure that every country within SADC respected and
conformed to the principles and objectives enshrined in the SADC
Treaty of 1992, including human rights and the rule of law. It was
also to provide SADC citizens with a platform to seek justice and
hold their governments to account when their human rights had been
infringed and local legal remedies had been exhausted. To do away
with this would be a retrogressive step and curtail trade and investment,
and would be in adverse contrast with ECOWAS and EAC, whose courts
of appeal have a clear mandate to adjudicate on human rights matters.
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