The Extraordinary Sadc Heads of State Summit reportedly stood up to President Robert Mugabe after the Zanu PF leader allegedly challenged President Jacob Zuma over the “inaccuracy” of the Livingstone Troika resolutions.
President Mugabe and his delegation had reportedly lobbied hard for the summit to reverse the findings of the March Troika meeting in Zambia that for the first time sharply criticised him for the crackdown on his political opponents.
Insiders said during his address to the summit in Johannesburg, President Mugabe sought to paint Zuma as a mediator who “misrepresented” facts during the Livingstone summit, whose report was endorsed by the Troika on March 31. The Johannesburg summit, however, went on and noted the decision of the Troika, dealing a major blow to Zanu PF, which wanted the resolutions thrown out altogether.
The summit also resolved that the Troika would appoint a three-member team of officials from South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique to join the facilitation team. The team will work with Zimbabwe’s Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) to ensure monitoring, evaluation and the full implementation of the GPA.
The electoral roadmap was also endorsed, though the parties still have three issues to iron out — security sector reform, changes to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the best method of overseeing elections. Zanu PF wants “observers” for the next poll while the MDC parties want monitors.
Insiders close to the negotiations told NewsDay yesterday President Mugabe had raised concern over the Livingstone resolutions, but failed to garner support.
The regional leaders urged President Mugabe to work with his partners in government to create an environment conducive to credible elections and to speed up the implementation of the GPA.
It is, however, the Johannesburg communiqué that has generated confusion regarding the use of the word “noted” instead of “endorsed”.
Zanu PF’s interpretation of the communiqué is that the summit did not endorse the Troika resolutions and they were only “noted”, while both the MDC parties claim the summit “endorsed” the Zambia decisions.
Zuma’s international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu told news agencies last night that the communiqué was clear, in that the Heads of State agreed with the Troika resolutions.
“Whether you use ‘noted’ or ‘endorsed’, it means the same. As far as the summit is concerned, the Troika report presented in Zambia by President Zuma has now been fully endorsed by Sadc,” Zulu said.
Asked to explain further why the communiqué’s wording was ambiguous, especially on its decision to endorse the Troika resolutions, Zulu remarked: “The problem is people try to create problems out of nothing. The leaders used ‘noted’ because it is the language they felt like using on that day. If people want to be honest they will tell you what happened during the meeting and what was agreed and what was not.”
MDC-N president Welshman Ncube confirmed that Zuma’s report on Zimbabwe was accepted and endorsed.
“Overall we are satisfied with the results of the summit. We always knew it would not be the fireworks anticipated by some because for most issues we knew the parties had already agreed on them.
“The task at hand for us has been about implementation of what has been already agreed, not reinventing the wheel. Our hope is that there will be a clear focus on the implementation,” Ncube said.
MDC-T secretary for international relations and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jameson Timba said Sadc had refused to be bulldozed by Zanu PF. However, President Mugabe, on his return from the summit, put on a brave face and watered down the Livingstone summit resolutions.
He said: “The summit went on very well, very, very well. Summit only noted the outcome of Livingstone, they did not endorse, summit noted . . . It was noted, it was not endorsed.”
Contacted for comment, Zanu PF negotiator Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa refused to do so saying he could not give a statement.
Another Zanu PF official close to the development also said he could not contradict what the “elders” had said.
Zanu PF has been pushing for elections this year, saying the GPA has failed to address the needs of Zimbabweans to the full.
However, the two MDC parties have argued that going for early polls without clearing the roadmap would result in another disputable election, similar to the presidential poll run-off of 2008.