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Mugabe faces Sadc poll test


President Robert Mugabes frantic push for elections this year faces a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) test this week when the bloc convenes an emergency meeting in Angola.

Sadc executive secretary Dr Tomz Augusto Salomao yesterday said although Zimbabwe was not officially on the agenda, the summit was likely to review the countrys political situation, given the recent discordant remarks over the roadmap to the next general elections.

Yes, there will be a Sadc Extraordinary Summit meeting in Luanda this week, Salomao said.
The summit will review the political developments in member states such as the elections in Lesotho, the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and so on, and Zimbabwe, though not on the agenda, can be discussed as well.

The inclusive government is a Sadc-negotiated political settlement, which brought together former protagonists President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Over the past few weeks, both Mugabe and Tsvangirai dispatched their respective Zanu PF and MDC-T party envoys to various Sadc member states to drum up support for their positions as tussling over elections and reforms escalated.

State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi met Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete on Saturday as Mugabe stepped up his campaign to win Sadc backing for elections he wants held this year.

Media reports said Sekeramayi travelled to Tanzania with a special message from Mugabe after meeting Zambias President Michael Sata in Lusaka last Tuesday.

Before him, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa had flown to Angola to deliver a special message to President Jos Eduardo dos Santos while Vice-President John Nkomo reportedly met Botswana President Ian Khama on a similar diplomatic offensive.

Last month, Tsvangirai dispatched MDC-T international relations secretary Jameson Timba to several regional countries to drum up support ahead of the Luanda summit.

Sadc leaders are expected to oppose Mugabes manoeuvres to call for elections before the completion of major reforms as this might result in a repeat of the 2008 poll violence.

Last week, United Nations Human Rights chief Navanethem Pillay advised against rushed polls and urged Mugabe to ensure free and fair future elections. Pillay was in the country on a five-day working visit to assess the human rights situation.

Mugabe (88), who is also fighting against old age and reported ill health, has maintained that he wants elections this year and it is suspected his emissaries delivered special messages to regional leaders to drum up support for his poll bid with or without reforms.

Meanwhile, Sadc-appointed mediator South African President Zumas international relations advisor Lindiwe Zulu yesterday said her team would be in Zimbabwe today to check on progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

The facilitation team is coming to meet the principals tomorrow (today) to check on the progress made in implementing outstanding issues in the GPA, she said.

It is our responsibility as the facilitation team to check on the progress and report to Sadc.
Earlier this year, Zulu said outstanding issues in the GPA should be finalised before the country holds elections.

Regional leaders are expected to discuss the ongoing political crisis jamming the implementation of the GPA and election roadmap, which is a requirement for the holding of a credible election in Zimbabwe.


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