Lift Zim sanctions: Sadc

HARARE - SADC leaders called on Sunday for the West to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe as they gave their seal of approval to President Robert Mugabe’s election victory which is disputed by his main rival.

Wrapping up its annual summit, the 15-nation Southern African Development Community called for “the lifting of all forms of sanctions hitherto imposed on Zimbabwe”, levelled against the veteran president and blacklisted firms and individuals.

“I believe Zimbabwe deserves better, Zimbabweans have suffered enough,” said the regional bloc’s incoming chairperson, President Joyce Banda of Malawi.

The Sadc also commended  Zimbabwe “for the peaceful manner in which elections were conducted” and congratulated Mugabe and his Zanu PF party for their overwhelming win in the July 31 vote.

In a further display of confidence in the 89-year-old, the leaders appointed Mugabe the deputy chairman of the group and voted that Zimbabwe will host the next Sadc summit in July next year.

Mugabe’s main rival, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, has cried foul over the election, which he says was rigged.

He lodged an electoral petition with the courts, but withdrew it a week later saying he would not get a fair hearing.

That cleared the way for the inauguration of Mugabe, already in power for 33 years. He will take his oath of office on Thursday to begin a fresh five-year mandate, his seventh.

Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, first took the reins of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980 as prime minister. He became president following a constitutional amendment in 1987.

Zimbabwean pro-democracy activists who travelled to Malawi to lobby the summit said they were disturbed by the Sadc’s endorsement of the vote.

The Sadc “failed” Zimbabweans and set a “wrong precedent for democratic elections”, said Thabani Nyoni, a spokesperson for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, which represents 70 rights groups.

“It kills people’s hopes to change things through an electoral process,” he told reporters.

Rights activists are now calling for the creation of an Sadc electoral tribunal to help “promote electoral democracy in the region through internationally accepted standards of fair and credible elections,” Nyoni said.

A 600-strong Sadc observer mission judged Zimbabwe’s vote free and peaceful, but has not yet commented on its fairness.

“Sadc chairperson Banda told reporters the Sadc is still waiting for final reports from its observers and from the African Union before it can declare the election “fair and credible.”

The two-day summit also discussed the political stand-off on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar and the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Comments (6)

Imbwa dzevanhu. Do business with the thief and leave the West out of it. Why does Mugabe want to do business with imperialists and capitalists. I am sure you his buddies can trade with him and be can help boost your economies. Dogs with no heart for the long suffering Zimbabweans

Vongai - 20 August 2013

Nhayi Vongayi chero ukatuka zvinengeyi unofunga zvichakupeyi? Takahwina and thats the fact whether you like it or not. Usapedzere shungu kupolitics iwe ungoriwo zuze zvake. Vange vadini kumboyedzawo zvekutamba lotto? At least you may get something out of it than kungohukura zvauri kuita izvi. Iwe uchiona iye tsvangirayi achibvuma kuti ndakarakashwa unopopota saani donhwe zvaro remvura munyanza.

Takeiteasy Marcaves - 20 August 2013

Saka Leave the west alone. Yo professional thief is on record saying zimbabwe can go it alone or did he mean he and his foolish buddies can go it alone. Zvimbwasungata chaizvo

ATZ - 20 August 2013

SADC leaders are full of double standards they approve an election as a FREE & FAIR then on credibilty they say a report has to be recieved from its own observers & AU so what make them rule these elections without these final reports ,ln other way SADC had a side that they were supporting which is zanu before the elections.Another thing that is surprising MUGABE said he doesn't want the WEST to interfere with his economy so why does he want them to lift their sunctions instead he should impose sunctions on them so that the world can see that he is a giant ,as for SADC why not do business amongst themselves & let's see if they can last three months.

CASHTALK - 20 August 2013

Mugabe has said that he does not need the Western world for the country to function. What is this fuss about these so called heads of states calling on nations which do not matter to remove sanctions. What sanctions if Mugabe says that sovereign Zimbabwe does not need the West? I find the call hypocritical!

Observer - 21 August 2013

The last thing Mugabe wants is for the so-called sanctions to be lifted. He needs them in place to use as a scapegoat for the further economic mismanagement that is shortly to be visited upon us. The West should immediately comply with Sadc's request and remove all restrictions. They should neither help nor hinder Mugabe's government. No western company with any sense will invest in Zimbabwe anyway, and Zim has no meaningful money to buy their goods, so the 'sanctions' serve no useful purpose other than as a demonstration of western piety.

Joe Cool - 21 August 2013

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