- Last Updated on 30 May 2012
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... in spite of Mugabe's insistence on early polls
The three-year-old unity government formed in February 2009 after two rounds of disputed elections in 2008 has this far achieved very little since its formation. The unity government was expected to draft a new constitution and institute media and security reforms as a precondition for free and fair elections but unfortunately the much anticipated new constitution and media and security reforms have not materialized much to the dismay and chagrin of the Zimbabwean public. It is in this context that the June 1 summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Luanda should be understood.
Ahead of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) June 1 2012 special summit scheduled for Luanda in Angola, Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe continues to lobby regional leaders for an early election, with or without the new constitution. President Mugabe is anxious to have the elections this year. Last week, he told the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Ms. Navi Pillay that he wants the elections early because the coalition government is dysfunctional. He claimed the drawn-out constitution-drafting process was being used by his rivals to delay the polls.
With the stance taken by Mugabe, regional leaders and civil society organisations must mount pressure on South African President Jacob Zuma and SADC to enforce the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) in Zimbabwe, which has been stalled by Zanu-PF's refusal to implement agreed reforms and pave the way for free, fair and indisputable elections ahead of the Luanda Summit. Concern is being expressed that there are no systems in place to prevent a repeat of the 2008 election violent that left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.
SADC developed an elections road map to guide the country to credible, free and fair elections and regional leaders demanded at summits in Livingstone, Zambia; Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa; and Luanda the need for Zimbabwe to follow the roadmap before free and fair elections are held. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition urges SADC and the African Union (AU) to broaden their consultative process to ensure that views of a broader spectrum of Zimbabwean citizens, including those in civil society, are heard and taken into account.
The forthcoming Luanda meeting is critical in determining Zimbabwe's direction.
It is important that SADC as the gurantor to the GPA and within the scope of its mediation mandate must ensure that :
1. Facilitates the endorsement made last year in the 31 March 2011 SADC troika communiquÃ© calling for constitutional reform before elections and a roadmap to enable credible elections to take place.
2. Initiate, including by deploying an AU exploratory mission, a comprehensive assessment of violence and related matters in Zimbabwe to determine whether conditions are conducive for free and fair elections, as envisaged under the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance and the SADC "Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections €.
3. Make recommendations to assist in the achievement of such conditions, including with respect to the need to ensure that the country's security forces are not undermined by traitor elements.
4. Support the COPAC process and broader GPA reform initiatives through technical and financial assistance, as well as the deployment of personnel from the region where feasible; and review, in coordination with the political parties, the existing legislative agenda to identify GPA reform priorities that have not been addressed, with a focus on enabling conditions.
5. Affirm that participation of civil society organisations is necessary to provide full legitimacy to the COPAC and other GPA reform processes and to this end establish a channel for direct access to the SADC facilitator for civil society actors to raise concerns about implementation of the GPA.