BOTH MDC parties and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) — the regional body overseeing political developments in Zimbabwe — yesterday said they knew nothing about a special African Union (AU) summit on Zimbabwe which President Robert Mugabe said was due on Friday.
REPORT BY POLITICAL EDITOR
Mugabe on Monday angrily accused his political protagonists, the MDC parties, of taking the Zimbabwean election issue to the AU, claiming they were seeking a postponement. He vowed not to accept any such move, saying he had ordered Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa to convey the rejection message to the AU.
But the MDC parties and the Sadc facilitation team yesterday expressed surprise at Mugabe’s claims, professing ignorance of any such AU summit.
“We do not know anything about that. All we know is that we have taken our concerns to Sadc, the guarantors of the GPA (Global Political Agreement),” said MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti in an interview with NewsDay.
His MDC counterpart Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga added: “I do not know about that summit. We only read it in the papers.”
Sadc facilitator and South African President Jacob Zuma’s international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu also said she was unaware of the alleged special summit on Zimbabwe.
“I do not know about that summit. I have made enquiries and no one seems to know. Maybe it was discussed at Presidential level, but the norm is that Sadc has to be in the picture, which they do not seem to be,” she said before referring NewsDay to Sadc executive secretary Tomaz Salomão, who could, however, not be reached for comment.
Addressing a Zanu PF campaign rally in Marondera on Monday, Mugabe claimed that a special AU summit had been scheduled for Friday.
“They (MDCs) have taken the matter to the AU, which used to be our OAU (Organisation of African Unity), so we have sent (Justice minister Patrick) Chinamasa to be prepared on the 19th of July.
They want to postpone elections, but that will never happen. . . ,” said Mugabe.
Mugabe’s claims were confirmed by his spokesperson George Charamba, who said the MDC parties had bypassed Sadc to take their concerns to the AU and that their efforts were bound to fail.
He said: “When MDCs realised they had failed to stop elections through Sadc intervention, they decided to go to the AU.”
Efforts to get comment from him in the wake of the denials by the MDCs and the Sadc facilitation team yesterday were unsuccessful.
The MDCs are accusing Zanu PF of stampeding the nation into elections on July 31 without reforms as stipulated in the GPA and without proper planning or preparation.