Harare -- THE forthcoming 34th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit to be held in Zimbabwe in August, where President Robert Mugabe will assume the bloc’s chairmanship should inspire the country’s leadership to be exemplary where good governance is concerned, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) Spokesperson Mfundo Mlilo has said.
Mlilo, who was speaking to media at the Quill Club in Harare on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, asked President Mugabe, whose electoral victory last year came in a flawed poll that fell short of meeting the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic elections, to lead by example in adhering to democratic standards and set the tone for poverty alleviation and development in the region.
“We make a call as Crisis Coalition that President Mugabe must lead by example,” said Mlilo.
“In Malawi, there was a problem with elections. There are questions and concerns around the democraticness of the SADC region.”
Mlilo said Zimbabwe was still beset by unique challenges after the last elections which were supposed to be addressed through the SADC’s roadmap to elections which was resisted by President Mugabe during the tenure of the Inclusive Government, and the coming Summit and undertaking of the chairmanship by the Zimbabwean leader was an opportunity to highlight these problems and the danger they pose to the region peace and stability.
The government of Zimbabwe has been making indications that it would use the opportunity to sell its empowerment programs, some of which are locally blamed for the collapse of agricultural productivity and lack of investment, to the regional countries.
Mlilo warned that there was a danger that the social crisis unfolding in Zimbabwe could be exported to the region.
“There are over 70 million people in SADC that are living in poverty, when we look at the situation in Zimbabwe, there is a danger that the social crisis that we see in Zimbabwe can be exported to other countries,” said Mlilo.
“We have seen Zimbabweans going to South Africa and Botswana … we have seen these two countries imposing strict immigration laws restricting Zimbabweans because there is tacit admission that there is a problem in Zimbabwe.
“So the chairmanship of President Mugabe poses a threat that the social crisis that we see in Zimbabwe can be exported to the SADC region.”
Some of the priority areas for the SADC region identified by the SADC Council of Ministers in March include food security and consolidation of democratic practices issues which the Zimbabwean leader has been failing on over the past decade.