News24

Zim activists welcome SADC attitude

2011-06-13 20:05

Johannesburg - A rights activist on Monday said a decision by Zimbabwe's neighbours to take a more active role in efforts to restore democracy in the southern African country is a sign that African leaders may no longer be coddling President Robert Mugabe.

In a message late on Sunday that followed two days of talks in Johannesburg, the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, also urged Zimbabwean leaders to move faster to "create a conducive environment to the holding of elections that will be free and fair, under conditions of a level playing field".

President Robert Mugabe's supporters are calling for polls this year to replace a shaky coalition with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party. Mugabe has been accused of using violence and election fraud to hold onto power. Independent groups say the possibility of a vote has led to attacks on Mugabe's opponents.

SADC urged South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique to appoint officials to a Zimbabwean committee charged with leading the country to new elections.

The move would significantly step up SADC involvement in Zimbabwean affairs, as the key body now includes only members of Mugabe's party; of its long time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change; and of a third party allied with the Movement for Democratic Change.
Zanu-PF released a statement on Monday indicating it would resist including South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique on the committee.

But Mugabe was quoted by state media on Monday as welcoming the outcome of the Johannesburg summit and praising South Africa's President Jacob Zuma.

Dewa Mavhinga, spokesperson for a coalition of Zimbabwean rights and development groups, said Mugabe and his party can remain defiant, or take the summit's declaration as a "reality check".
"SADC is committed to having free and fair elections in Zimbabwe," Mavhinga said. "There is definitely a shift that Zanu must contend with."

Zuma changed policy

At a news conference on Monday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US was encouraged by SADC's stance, saying it "emphasized the importance of President Mugabe following the requirements of" an agreement that paved the way for the coalition after inconclusive and violent 2008 elections. The agreement calls for reforms before a new vote.

Mavhinga said SADC's approach on Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party seemed to be shifting. Earlier approaches led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of the southern Africa group were criticized as soft.

 Jacob Zuma, who took over the South African presidency in 2009, is credited with making a change.
But Mavhinga said it will be difficult to translate words in a communiqué into change on the ground.

On Monday, Sibanengi Dube, an MDC spokesperson in Johannesburg, said two youth wing leaders learned after leaving Zimbabwe for Johannesburg for a SADC briefing that police were seeking them on murder charges in the death of a police officer.

Dube said the two cancelled the briefing because they feared being attacked by Zanu-PF agents in Johannesburg. Dube said they would return to Zimbabwe on Monday to face arrest and trial to prove their innocence in the police officer's case.

Several MDC activists have been arrested after the killing of police officer Petros Mutedza on May 30 in Harare.

Tsvangirai supporters deny involvement in the policeman's death and say the arrests are politically motivated.

Comments
  • USSA - 2011-06-13 20:34

    Robert Mugabe will not listen to anyone. Simple. True. He is a despot with no plans of letting any international (African or otherwise) group make decisions with him about Zim. Talk is cheap..especially his

  • Joe - 2011-06-13 20:49

    I pray that God will restore demcracy in Zimbabwe!!!There is no place for the Mugabe's, Malema's, Gaddafi's etc in this world!!! We need peace!!!

      CAIRO - 2011-06-14 07:11

      Joe africa belongs to africans go to holland please dont make noise here dont come with that tendency here.

      Mthetwa - 2011-06-14 07:41

      @Cairo ..... I think you should go to Cairo

      JMan - 2011-06-14 08:54

      @ cairo: I agree that Africa belongs to Africans... but currently a lot of Africans running it are all corrupt criminals... At least then get trustworthy and competent Africans to lead us.

  • Johhny - 2011-06-13 21:38

    What a circus accusing not one but a few people ( they are not Mugabe's supporters) for killing one policeman. i think they will arrest the next 300 supporters of MDC for killing one ZANU policeman. MDC make it worth while an dkill 400 ZANU supporters and have 10 of your supporters arrested for this deed.

      VADERLAND - 2011-06-14 04:14

      Yeah but nothing seem yo happen to the police when they kill the MDC supporters.

  • Numsa - 2011-06-13 21:47

    its time for the great man to step down hes 80+ now and his country is prosperous so he must give somebody else a turn like juju

      Joe - 2011-06-13 23:18

      I agree wholeheartedly with you, juju pack your suits and watches and report there at 6'o'clock sharp tomorrow morning.

      VADERLAND - 2011-06-14 08:09

      Yeah and Malema can take all his followers with him.

  • James Weather - 2011-06-13 21:51

    Typical ... the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a bunch of worthless ball-less visionary-less back bone-less leaders. Anything short of telling that old psychopath bob to flee his county and go into exile immediately would be nothing short of a waste of breath. BOB is a mad man if you 'leaders' haven’t seen that then start questioning your own judgment and ask yourselves is this the will of the people (which you claim to be representing) or is this lack of back bone in sticking up for what’s right got to do with personal agendas?

      nn.prv - 2011-06-14 07:49

      So easy to say that from the sidelines.How do you tell a man to vacate his own house and go into exile.esp one of BOB's character.Believe me , many of these african leaders still idolise him ,but dont have the balls!

  • David Power - 2011-06-14 00:50

    ALL ARMY, POLICE, "WAR VETS" SHOULD RETURN TO BARRACKS !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • CAIRO - 2011-06-14 07:14

    only a political solution is needed in zim not this neo-liberal tendency of USA africans them self will give solutions to its problems anyone who is not african must go to australia holland and newzealand

      JMan - 2011-06-14 08:57

      The level of "intelligence" in this comment is 'staggering'....your mom must be so proud.

  • Mugabe - 2011-06-14 08:50

    No matter what you say about Mugabe, he will still be a Hero to the african people. pple who are against Mugabe have never been to Capetown where you find pple who hate u bcoz of the color of yor skin. Mugabe is right-he just wants fairness for all.

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