Sadc facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis and South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday summoned negotiators to the GPA to Pretoria to finalise the roadmap to the next elections for presentation to a make-or-break regional summit in Luanda, Angola, tomorrow.
Zuma is pressing on with the roadmap despite objections by both President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T though for very different reasons in each case.
The South African president is expected to present a report on his progress in his Zimbabwe mediation efforts to his fellow leaders of the regional bloc during the summit.
It is commendable Zuma has kept on pressing in an effort to seek a so far elusive lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s long-running political crisis.
Zimbabweans will be pinning their hopes on the Sadc leaders to assist them out of this crisis, which seems to be taking long to subside due to the intransigence of the main political parties in the inclusive government.
Therefore, the Sadc regional leaders should work hard to ensure parties to Zimbabwe’s power-sharing pact stick to their part of the bargain.
The leaders must deliver this time around, and must not be hoodwinked by the self-serving interests of Zanu PF and the two MDCs at the expense of the general public.
President Mugabe last week embarked on a charm offensive to placate Sadc leaders in the wake of harsh criticism against Zanu PF for its often violent conduct.
Despite the damage control exercise by Zanu PF and President Mugabe to galvanise support ahead of the Sadc summit, the leaders must exercise freeness of speech and chide the country’s former ruling party leader to play ball.
It is true that as the Sadc leaders converge in Luanda they would also discuss various issues affecting the region, including the political impasse in Madagascar, and study a progress report by a regional committee of ministers of justice on an exercise to review the mandate of the Sadc Tribunal.
But, it goes without saying that coming to another item on the Sadc agenda, the leaders must decisively work hard together with others in the region to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe when the GPA arrangement ceases.
It’s one thing to grow weary of a matter that never ends, but it’s another to speak out and spell out terms for the Zimbabwean leaders to follow. Botswana’s Ian Khama, one of President Mugabe’s fiercest critics, has until recently often broken ranks with other regional leaders on to how to deal with Zimbabwe’s long-running political crisis.
The country is heartened by the fact that the whole Sadc bloc is now tired of President Mugabe and Zanu PF’s theatrics.
It’s about time the Sadc regional bloc advocated for a tougher regional stance to rein in President Mugabe and Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC.