Sadc should keep the heat

HARARE - We are alarmed by Zanu PF’s belittling of Sadc’s role in the country’s political and economic crises, when it is common knowledge that President Robert Mugabe owes his position in government today to the regional body.

The former liberation party should also respect South Africa’s Jacob Zuma who was seconded by Sadc as facilitator to our crisis.

For Zanu PF to frown contemptuously at the regional body and Zuma’s meditation is tantamount to burying its head in the sand when it is time for the former ruling party to fully implement what was agreed to in 2008.

Sadc, not only shelters thousands of Zimbabweans who fled Zanu PF’s brutal rule and unsound economic policies, but provided Mugabe with the legitimacy he enjoys as president after he was beaten in the first round of elections in 2008 by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who narrowly missed the 50 percent mark needed to form a government.

Sadc as a guarantor of the coalition government should ensure that what they guaranteed in 2008 is fully implemented, otherwise the country could yet again slide to the dark days of 2008 when more than 4 000 people died in a cholera outbreak.

No amount of posturing and intimidation should force Sadc to relent in its efforts to ensure a free and fair election otherwise posterity will judge the regional block for failing to stand up for crisis weary Zimbabweans.

The sovereignty argument repeated time and again by Mugabe and his hangers-on is not only tired but is a lame excuse from a regime that unashamedly chooses to respect the law when the outcome is favourable to them.

Zimbabwe will never be a colony again, true, but Zanu PF should admit that for now we are living on the auspices of the regional body, which not only brokered peace talks, but also is bearing the brunt of the country’s crisis.

While Zanu PF may intimidate helpless villagers, it has no mechanism whatsoever to defy the regional body, from whose member countries Zimbabwe gets electricity, and also begs for food in times of grain shortages.

Zanu PF cannot choose to be arrogant when it is all too common that the country is not an island but belongs to a family of nations—with any disaster that will befall the country likely to spill over to other countries.

We urge Sadc to keep the pressure on Mugabe and his party so they adhere to basic principles of governance and implement the necessary political and media reforms before any election.

Sadc should know that any slip up now on the expected reforms will send a wrong signal to Zanu PF that it can do whatever it pleases with Zimbabwe’s electoral processes. Mugabe and Zanu PF should wake up and smell the coffee because days are gone when the former liberation party used to rule and make laws alone. - Staff Writer

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