LILONGWE — President Robert Mugabe’s disputed poll victory is likely to take centre stage at the Sadc Heads of State and Government summit in Malawi this weekend after outgoing Sadc chairperson and Mozambican leader Armando Guebuza reportedly demanded that the Harare poll dispute be tabled on the summit’s main agenda.
Elias Mambo in Malawi
The Sadc leaders’ meeting is expected to deliberate on a wide range of regional issues, including the appointment of a new leadership for the regional bloc’s secretariat.
However, the controversy surrounding Zimbabwe’s just-ended polls, where Mugabe won resoundingly against his arch-rival MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai, seems to have attracted the attention of some regional leaders who are now pushing for the matter to be formally tabled on the agenda so that an amicable solution is proffered.
Initially, Zimbabwe was not on the main agenda with the Sadc Troika chairperson Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete expected to just give a sweeping report on how the July elections were conducted.
However, displomatic sources yesterday insisted that Zimbabwe was likely to be debated at length following Guebuza’s demands.
Tsvangirai has dismissed the election results as a farce and accused Mugabe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission of rigging the polls.
Botswana President Ian Khama, who is fighting in Tsvangirai’s corner, has demanded Sadc to order a forensic audit of the electoral process.
Analysts have already expressed fear that if not properly handled, the Zimbabwean crisis could destroy the credibility of Sadc.
Insiders in the regional bloc claim the election was rigged to save Mugabe from outright defeat from the MDC-T, hence the need to find a solution.
Meanwhile, MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora yesterday said his party had dispatched a high-powered delegation to present its dossier of alleged electoral irregularities to the Sadc summit.
“We are going to Sadc. Our vice-president (Thokozani Khupe) and other party officials are already there. We don’t know whether we will be invited to make a presentation in the main session or not, but you know that (South African) President (Jacob) Zuma said if the MDC-T has evidence of the rigging, it should present it and we will do that.”