'Sadc must tackle security sector reforms'

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC wants regional bloc Sadc to force the country’s military bosses to declare they will accept this year’s watershed poll regardless of the winner.

MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told the Daily News yesterday that his party is pushing for an urgent summit on Zimbabwe’s looming elections.

“I can confirm we are pushing for an urgent (Sadc) summit that we think should be held soon to deal with Zimbabwe’s electoral issues in particular the political playfield,” Mwonzora said.

“We want Sadc to take a firm stance on the role of the security sector in the coming elections.”

The move by Tsvangirai and his party is likely to stir a hornet’s nest given that Mugabe has steadfastly declared that the “military is a no go area.”

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo immediately scoffed at the MDC move.

“Why should Sadc be involved in internal matters and why should an opposition party invite Sadc?” Gumbo queried.

“Sadc will not countenance such nonsense. I think it is inexperience in diplomatic matters by the MDC. It is time wasting. Sadc will deal with fundamental matters.”

However, Mwonzora said his party wanted Sadc to insist on a strict adherence to the rule of law and in particular the observance of the new draft constitution’s provisions.

“Zimbabweans must campaign and vote freely without being molested,” Mwonzora said. “The provisions of the new charter are adequate but we want Sadc to make sure they are respected to the letter and spirit especially by security services no matter who emerges the winner of the elections.”

Mwonzora said Sadc must tackle security sector reforms to “get rid of the ghost of 2008 fiasco in which the military was heavily involved.”

Several high-ranking members of the military and the police have consistently taken every opportunity to declare they will not accept any leader without liberation war credentials.

Tsvangirai has however, insisted on security sector reforms as espoused by the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Zimbabwe’s security sector as well as paramilitary groups aligned to Zanu PF were fingered in systematic violence during the 2008 elections run-off from which Tsvangirai pulled out at the eleventh hour citing intimidation and the murder of over 200 of his supporters.

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