Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition hails the proposed timely intervention by SADC leaders to ensure a free and fair election in Zimbabwe. This follows the SADC Troika Organ on Politics, Defence and Security resolution to take a hands-on approach to the Zimbabwean crisis by convening a special summit on the 7-8th of October 2012, to discuss and address the 'deadlocked' constitution making process, which arose following the three political parties dispute over the contents of the draft constitution.
Article VI of the Global Political Agreement, provides for the draft constitution to be referred to a Second All Stakeholders Conference en route to the Referendum, but now that a deadlock has been announced, it is the most appropriate time for the regional body to step in as guarantors to the GPA and ensure that the correct processes take place. ZANU-PF has said a deadlock would mean the dissolution of the inclusive government followed by a call for immediate elections, a charge which is in clear violation of Article VI of the GPA. This has resulted in fears that Zimbabwe may be forced to go for national elections under the old Lancaster House constitution and under conditions of wide-spread violence similar to the 2008 violent elections. Although it is no guarantee that the much awaited constitution will ensure the holding of a peaceful free and fair election in Zimbabwe, it can however be used as a yard stick to display political party commitments to ensuring a smooth transition in Zimbabwe.
The constitution deadlock comes at a time when there is a feeling that this is yet again one of SADC's most challenging political hours in their long track towards restoring Zimbabwe's political and socio-economic situation. It is indeed a litmus test of SADC leaders' commitment to the process of ensuring a free and fair election in Zimbabwe especially as agreed to by the parties GPA. Crisis Coalition is also hopeful that the SADC Troika will be able to strike a breakthrough and help the GPA partners bridge their differences.
At the SADC Summit held in August 2012 in Maputo, Mozambique, the Troika encouraged the parties to continue working together in creating a good political atmosphere for elections. SADC leaders were emphatic that they do not want a repeat of 2008 and the constitution-making process is a major yardstick in this regard, noting that, "If they are any difficulties with regard to the constitution making process and implementation of agreements, the facilitator is called upon to engage with the parties and assist them resolve such issues, bearing in mind the timeframes and the necessity to hold free and fair elections."
The Coalition herewith urges SADC to:
· Maintain pressure on backtracking political parties to honor their commitment to completing the processes that will pave way for peaceful, free and fair elections.
· Urge political parties to stop being obstinate, and submit reservations they may have on the draft to the Second All Stakeholders' Conference as the process demands, or have their say at the referendum.
· Encourage the parties to take the COPAC draft constitution to a second all-stakeholders convention and thereafter to a referendum.
· Urge political parties to respect that the authority on the constitution making process is COPAC and not any one single party in the inclusive government, while realizing that a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum would represent an important milestone in the preparation of democratic elections.
· Encourage parties to the GPA to focus on full implementation of the agreement in order to achieve the desired end of a credible electoral process whose outcome and legitimacy will be respected.
Crisis Coalition also demands that SADC-appointed representatives to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) urgently monitor and encourage progress towards transparent, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
Issued by: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition