BY RICHARD MUPONDE
OPPOSITION MDC president Nelson Chamisa and political analysts have said the Sadc region was volatile because of the deepening political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe which could easily destabilise the whole region.
Chamisa was responding to claims by Sadc executive secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax on Monday when she paid a courtesy call on President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
After the meeting, Tax said she discussed an array of issues with Mnangagwa, the current head of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, particularly on youth unemployment and climate change, but noted that the region was generally stable.
But Chamisa described the claim as an absurd pretence intended to create a respectable appearance.
He said Sadc could not be said to be stable when most Zimbabweans were economic and political refugees in the region and beyond.
Chamisa’s spokesperson, Nkululeko Sibanda yesterday said Tax’s pronouncements that the region was stable were a charade, insisting instead that the region was volatile because of Zimbabwe’s debilitating political and economic crisis.
“What the Sadc executive secretary said is a charade,” Sibanda said.
“We can’t have a stable region when the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe is deepening every hour. The situation in Zimbabwe plunges the whole region into instability. That is why the president (Chamisa) is calling for a regional initiative to stabilise the economic and political crisis, so that we have peace and social cohesion in the country and the region as a whole.”
He said the opposition was committed to a political settlement in Zimbabwe in which Sadc was a guarantor, so as to ease the volatility in the country and region.
“There’s high unemployment in Zimbabwe and the region as a whole. That on its own is a volatile situation. At the moment Zimbabweans are flocking into other regional States as economic refugees and are being accused of causing problems in these countries. That alone plunges the region into volatility and instability. President Chamisa is committed to a Sadc guaranteed solution to solve the country’s problems as to bring stability in the Sadc bloc,” he said.
Political analyst, Austin Chakaodza yesterday said it was an anathema to suggest that the Sadc region was stable when its member States including Zimbabwe were facing a myriad of problems, including a civil war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“Far from stable the Sadc region is highly unstable politically, economically, socially and culturally. Its member States are going through crisis after crisis. For example, Zimbabwe government is failing to solve its mounting problems. (Mthuli) Ncube (Finance minister)’s stabilisation policies are dismally failing to solve the economic problems besetting the country,” Chakaodza said.
Another analyst Ibbo Mandaza also said there could not be a stable Sadc when Zimbabwe was burning and there were problems in the DRC and Malawi.
“Stable is a relative term,” Mandanza said.
“We can’t talk of Sadc being stable. DRC economy is in the doldrums where Rwanda and Uganda are looting gold. We can’t talk of sporadic xenophobic attacks in South Africa where Zimbabwe and Sadc citizens are attacked.”
He added: “We are far from stable in Sadc, unless if they are talking of wars, but we can’t talk of war as the only instability. The political and economic crisis is instability. Blade Dzimande (SA Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology) said we should not blame South Africa for everything, but blame leaders north of South Africa. Their countries are unstable politically and economically hence their citizens flock to the country,” Mandaza said.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been on a downturn due to a political crisis reducing its citizens to paupers surviving on less than one United States dollar per day.