As the crucial Sadc Summit draws closer, the MDC-T yesterday ratcheted up diplomatic pressure on President Robert Mugabe to force him and Zanu PF to embrace wholesale political reforms and pave way for free and fair elections.
Yesterday, the MDC-T said the country’s political and economic crisis should be brought to finality, and they believe the forthcoming summit was the best opportunity to do so. The summit kicks off on Monday in Luanda, Angola.
MDC-T and Zanu PF insiders said both perties were lobbying for regional support ahead of the crunch summit.
In an apparent bid to push Sadc leaders to address the protracted crisis once and for all, the MDC-T yesterday held intense talks with diplomats in Harare.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe was also on a regional offensive lobbying his fellow liberation movement parties ahead of the make-or-break summit.
President Mugabe joined other leaders of liberation movements in Namibia where they discussed, chief among other issues, “ways of consolidating the gains of the liberation struggle as well as confront the challenges facing the region in the wake of persistent attempts by the West to meddle in Africa’s internal affairs”.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said they were expecting Sadc to okay a political process that would lead to the conclusion of the constitution-making process, holding of a referendum and eventually organising general elections.
Gumbo said he was surprised the MDC-T was unhappy with the political situation in Zimbabwe, arguing:
“I do not understand their problem. They are in government. What are they complaining about? They are supposed to make binding decisions. Do they want Sadc to run this country?”
But, MDC-T secretary for international relations and Minister of State in the Premier’s Office Jameson Timba held two rounds of meetings with diplomats at his party’s headquarters and told them they were unhappy with political developments in the country.
Timba first met African ambassadors before meeting envoy from overseas.
He told NewsDay, the meetings were aimed at updating diplomats on the situation in the country, especially after the Sandton summit held in South Africa two months ago.
He said the MDC-T was unhappy that several issues agreed in the roadmap had not yet been addressed.
“We are concerned with the continued arbitrary and unlawful arrest of ministers from the MDC formations. We are also equally concerned with the violence that is rearing its ugly head again,” Timba said.
“The violence at Parliament Building is embarrassing, to say the least. That we can have thugs go to the august House and assault a Member of Parliament and members of the Press with police doing nothing about it (was embarrassing). We are also concerned about the harassment of our ministers. (Finance) minister (Tendai) Biti is hounded day in day out in one form or the other.
“This is totally unacceptable and must stop. We are also concerned with the slow pace of implementing even the issues that have been agreed on, including media reforms.”
Timba added they were concerned with the alleged entrenched and increasing role of the military in political processes in the country.
“We are also concerned with the delay in the deployment of regional monitors that are supposed to join the Jomic team as agreed in Livingstone and endorsed in Sandton. Above all, we are concerned with the delay in resolving grey areas in the roadmap.
“We hope the Troika and the main summit will be seized with these matters and bring finality to the same.”