ZANU PF has chickened out of Sadc’s extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe that was scheduled for Maputo, Mozambique on Sunday, reportedly giving the excuse that President Robert Mugabe wanted to first scrutinise last week’s Constitutional Court (Concourt) judgment compelling him to hold elections by July 31.
REPORT BY JOHN NYASHANU
The summit had been earmarked to assess the preparedness of Zimbabwe to meet free and fair election conditions and to ensure the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) such as security sector alignment and Media reforms were adhered to.
South Africa Department of International Relations and Co-operation spokesperson Clayson Monyela yesterday confirmed the cancellation of the Sadc special summit.
“The summit is off. We hope it will be moved to a new date,” Monyela told South Africa’s Business Day Live.
MDC-T Secretary General Tendai Biti confirmed the latest development and immediately took a swipe at Zanu PF.
“From what we gather, Zanu PF has written to (Sadc executive secretary Tomaz) Salomao through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicating that they still want to study the constitutional judgment,” he said.
Biti, who is also the Finance minister, blasted Zanu PF for what he described as “delaying tactics”.
“It’s simply a delaying tactic on the part of Zanu PF. It is surely a flimsy excuse showing that Zanu PF wants to go unilateral and fear a Sadc backlash,” Biti said.
However, Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa professed ignorance over the cancellation.
“It may be true, but I am not yet aware of it (the cancellation),” he said.
An official from Salamao’s office who identified herself as Dorcas told Xinhua in a telephone interview that: “It won’t take place on the 9th. I cannot give you reasons, but it won’t take place on the 9th. That’s all I can tell you.”
Efforts to contact party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo and Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche were unsuccessful as their mobile phones went unanswered.
The decision by Zanu PF followed the ganging up of MDCs with other political parties outside the inclusive government — Zapu, Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn and Zanu Ndonga among others against Mugabe’s decision to stampede the country into a disputed harmonised election without fulfilling the outstanding issues of the GPA such as security sector and media reforms.
Within hours of the Concourt ruling in Harare, Mugabe (89) told the Press in Yokohama, Japan where he was attending the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (Ticad V) that he would comply with the court’s decision and set a date for elections after consulting Chinamasa on his return from the nine-day trip.
But MDC-T leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC, MKD’s Simba Makoni and Zapu’s Dumiso Dabengwa joined forces and vowed to stop the Mugabe “madness” at the special Sadc summit over the concourt ruling.
The court ruling followed an application by a Harare man Jealousy Mawarire seeking to compel Mugabe to urgently proclaim an election date. Mawarire demanded that Mugabe had to proclaim the dates by June 29 in line with the fast-approaching expiry of terms of office of local authorities, Parliament and the President.