New Sadc chairperson and Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos on Thursday chastised President Robert Mugabe and other regional leaders whose countries are mired in political turmoil saying they should appreciate that power is only held when one wins free and fair elections.
The Sadc summit, which ended yesterday, reaffirmed South African President Jacob Zuma’s role as facilitator in the protracted political crisis in Zimbabwe despite taking up the chair of the regional bloc’s Troika Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
This was despite spirited efforts by some Zanu PF hard-liners to push Zuma out of the facilitation process, arguing it was not proper for him to perform both roles at the same time.
“His (Zuma’s) role has been reaffirmed even if he is chairman of the organ,” dos Santos said during a Press conference.
The summit also poured cold water on calls by President Mugabe and his lieutenants to hold early elections insisting this could only be possible after full implementation of the roadmap.
“In terms of the (Global Political) Agreement, a new constitution must be passed then a referendum which will lead to the holding of elections. That is Sadc’s position,” said dos Santos.
The veteran Angolan leader took a swipe at President Mugabe, Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the feuding leaders in Madagascar saying:
“We are taking up the issues in Zimbabwe, Madagascar and the DRC. Countries need to put in place democratic mechanisms and understand that power can be held through free and fair elections.”
Zimbabwe, Madagascar and the DRC are in political turmoil and their problems were under the spotlight during the summit.
President Mugabe and his delegation that included Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche were not present when Dos Santos issued the statement.
The Zimbabwe crisis is blamed on President Mugabe and Zanu PF who are accused of stifling democracy in a bid to cling to power.
“The Troika shall develop the terms of reference, time frames and provide regular progress reports,” read the Sadc communiqué issued on Thursday.
“Summit will review progress on the implementation of (the) GPA and take appropriate action.
“On Zimbabwe . . . Summit urged the parties to the Global Political Agreement to remain committed to the implementation of the agreement and finalise the roadmap for resolving outstanding issues.
“Summit reaffirmed its decision of the Sandton Extraordinary Summit and urged the Troika of the Organ to appoint a team of officials to ensure monitoring, evaluation and implementation of the GPA.”