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Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zim crisis faces being left off SADC agenda

Zim crisis faces being left off SADC agenda

By Alex Bell
16 May 2011

The Zimbabwe crisis could once again be bumped off the agenda of upcoming 
talks by leaders in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), 
apparently because South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma might not attend.

The SADC Summit is set to get underway in Namibia on Friday, but there has 
been no confirmation that Zimbabwe will be on the agenda of talks. Dewa 
Mavhinga from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition told SW Radio Africa that 
President Zuma, the regional mediator in the Zimbabwe crisis, “might not be 
available because of commitments regarding municipal elections in South 

“If Zuma is not available then the matter of Zimbabwe might be postponed,” 
Mavhinga said, explaining; “There is a proposal on the table that the matter 
will be addressed in Johannesburg on the 10th or 11th June.”

It will not be the first time that SADC has deferred dealing with the 
Zimbabwe issue and Robert Mugabe. But a delay now will come as a serious 
blow for everyone who has been pushing for the region to take a stand.

SW Radio Africa understands that SADC is jumping at the chance to delay the 
Zim meeting again, because it simply does not know what to do.

SADC has been cautiously praised recently after appearing to change its 
usually complacent tune towards Zimbabwe. A SADC Troika meeting in Zambia 
had harsh words for the ongoing political stalemate, caused by ZANU PF’s 
refusal to honour the Global Political Agreement (GPA). That Troika meeting 
ended with what analysts said was, for SADC, a strongly worded communiqué 
that called for an immediate end to violence and intimidation and also 
resolved to create an election road map to guarantee a fair and free vote.

Mugabe left that meeting visibly angry, and his party has been lashing out 
at SADC ever since. A ZANU PF politburo meeting last week moved to stall all 
progress in creating the draft election roadmap, insisting elections will be 
held this year. Observers have said ZANU PF’s behaviour is only isolating 
the party further within the region, but there are still concerns that long 
time allies of Mugabe’s will continue to support him in the future.

Mugabe has since embarked on a regional offensive, deploying envoys to try 
and drum up support for his intention to hold elections this year. Analysts 
have said that, if successful, this could divide an already fragile SADC, 
with the likes of Angola’s José Eduardo dos Santos, Malawi’s Bingu Wa 
Mutharika, Joseph Kabila of the DRC, Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba and 
Swaziland’s King Mswati III, likely to fight in Mugabe’s corner.

The Crisis Coalition’s Mavhinga said that there is still reason to hope that 
SADC “will do the right thing,” insisting that the pressure on the region 
must not wane.

“We are pushing SADC to put on public record its minimum conditions for 
Zimbabwe, regarding the environment that must be created for a free and fair 
election, regarding constitutional reform, regarding the serious issues of 
security sector reform,” Mavhinga said.

He added: “Even if the matter is postponed, they must put this on record, 
and indicate to the international community that they are in charge of the 

Meanwhile, it’s understood that SADC will be happy to delay the meeting, 
while it tries to decide how to progress with the sticky issue of the SADC 
Tribunal. The summit is meant to study a review of the court, which was 
effectively suspended last year over Zimbabwe’s refusal to honour it’s 
ruling on the land grab campaign. The Tribunal ruled in 2008 that the brutal 
land invasions were unlawful and ordered the then ZANU PF government to 
protect farmers. But Robert Mugabe and his party have repeatedly snubbed the 
court, despite being a signatory to the SADC Treaty.

Last year a SADC summit decided to review the role and functions of the 
court, rather than be forced into taking action against the Zim government 
for its contempt. That review has since been concluded, and has upheld the 
court’s decision.

But a recent SADC Council of Ministers meeting has come to a different 
conclusion, insisting that the Court was not properly constituted and does 
not have the jurisdiction to rule on events in Zimbabwe.

The SADC summit now needs to make a decision on the future of the court, one 
way or another. Observers have said it is unlikely that the regional bloc 
will take Mugabe to task over land seizures, and there is great concern 
about what this will mean for the future of the rule of law in the entire 


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