SADC to announce Zim fate today

2011-06-11 16:50

President Robert Mugabe would have heard last night under what circumstances an election could take place in Zimbabwe.

At an extraordinary meeting of heads of state of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Johannesburg, the frame of reference and conditions ­under which peaceful elections can take place were to be presented to Mugabe and Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai late yesterDay.

Officials yesterday described it as a draft roadmap to a constitutional referendum and then parliamentary and presidential elections.

However, no dates have been prescribed – officials said this was up to “the Zimbabweans to decide for ­themselves”.

It has been ­suggested that Mugabe is now in favour of holding elections early next year, on the condition that the referendum on a new constitution still takes place this year.

In terms of the roadmap, parties in the current government of national unity must comply with four conditions:

» An immedate end to the current violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment and any other activities which place the current ­settlement in jeopardy;

» The creation of an environment in which peace, ­security and free political ­activity is possible;

» The referendum and election must be organised and held in terms of the guidelines and objectives of a ­democratic election; and

» SADC observers must be allowed to monitor the ­run-up to voting.

On Friday Mugabe met with President Jacob Zuma for hours (see picture top).

Earlier this year, relations between Zuma and Mugabe soured in Zambia when the SADC, under Zuma’s chairmanship, condemned the ­behaviour of security forces in Zimbabwe.

The security forces report directly to Mugabe and they were accused of “polarising the political environment through an increase in violence, arrests and intimidation in Zimbabwe”.

Mugabe has since then made several fruitless attempts to repair his relationship with Zuma, and particularly the South African negotiating team in Zimbabwe.

A formal announcement regarding the Zimbabwean issue is expected later today at the conclusion of a summit in Sandton of heads of state and government leaders from the East-African Economic Community and SADC.

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