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‘Sadc afraid of Mugabe’

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South African Press Council chairman Raymond Louw says Sadc is not doing enough to resolve the Zimbabwean political stalemate as the regional body is afraid “to chastise President Robert Mugabe”.

Louw was speaking at a press conference in Parktown, Johannesburg, on Friday on the sidelines of a regional integration course for journalists from the Sadc region.

Louw, who is also the deputy chairperson of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-South Africa), said the regional bloc has performed “very badly”on Zimbabwe.

Expectations were high ahead of the Sadc summit in Windhoek, Namibia last week that the regional body would act tough on President Mugabe to implement in full the Global Political Agreement (GPA) but the bloc let him off the hook by not reading the riot act.

President Mugabe is being accused of stalling full implementation of the GPA.

“Sadc does not want to take a firm stance on Zimbabwe. It has performed very badly on Zimbabwe.

The regional bloc is reluctant to chastise (President) Mugabe, Sadc has dodged the issue of Zimbabwe.

This is just an extension of its stance on Zimbabwe which it adopted 10 years ago, it failed to enforce a Tribunal ruling on farmers that (President) Mugabe disregarded. That was very disgraceful,” said Louw.

The Sadc Tribunal early this year ruled against Zimbabwe’s land reform programme which saw the previous government seizing land from white commercial farmers for redistribution to landless blacks.

A group of 78 white commercial farmers approached the Pretoria High Court in South Africa seeking a court order for them to be given back their land.

Louw said the regional bloc, which gave Zimbabwe’s three main political parties a month to resolve the outstanding issue in the power-sharing pact, is shaped more by personalities.

He said the action by Sadc is reflective of the action by other African bodies when dealing with member states.

“Sadc and the African Union should take a more pro-active stance on Zimbabwe,” Louw said.

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