THE executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community has claimed that the regional body did not believe that former President Robert Mugabe was toppled through a coup when his own army forced him out of office in November 2017.
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
Stergomena Lawrence Tax, a Tanzanian national said in a series of tweets at the weekend that the “change of administration” was “supported by nationals” without going into the manner of the ‘change.’
Mugabe’s 37-year old rule effectively came to an end when the military seized power, with tanks on the streets and the veteran leader confined to his private residence. He quit when his own party Zanu PF fired him and started impeachment proceedings in Parliament.
“Which coup? Sadc is unaware of the said coup, us aware of change of administration that was extensively celebrated and supported by nationals,” Tax said.
The southern African nation had hoped to shake off its divided past after the coup, but last year’s disputed election won by President Emmerson Mnangagwa only deepened political polarisation.
Hopes of a swift economic recovery have all but disappeared as triple digit inflation hit 440% in October and prices rising regularly against depressed incomes.
The Mnangagwa administration’s heavy-handedness in dealing with dissent mimics the authoritarianism that was the hallmark of Mugabe’s failed regime, critics say.
Tax also told off the opposition MDC and civil society for demanding foreign intervention to stop political and economic crisis after meeting officials last week.
“Use Parliament and Judiciary. Engage with the Executive, regional bodies come after exhausting internal mechanisms, are you at that stage,” Tax said on Saturday.
Tax who received MDC’s vice-president Welshman Ncube and secretary of foreign affairs Gladys Hlatshwayo, said what was happening in Zimbabwe was internal politics and, therefore, did not need external intervention.
“States’ political and socio-economic affairs are national matters! Use internal mechanisms,” she said.
The MDC said Sadc was being selective because when Zanu PF failed to use the courts, Parliament and the Judiciary which was captured by late President Robert Mugabe, they turned to the gun and ousted the former leader in a coup.
Chamisa’s spokesperson Nkululeko Sibanda said Tax was missing the point and should get her facts right.
“It means this Dr has not applied her mind to the Zimbabwe question, has not understood that the electoral dispute failed to get resolution at the Constitutional Court and that is the highest place where things could be heard … She should be invited as a professional to apply herself diligently to the matter otherwise it would be very incompetent for her to comment on this subject without gathering the material facts before hand,” Sibanda said.
He refused to accept that the MDC had lost the regional battle to put the legitimacy issue on the Sadc agenda saying they had received a buy in from South Africa, Angola and Zambia.
“As a matter of fact Sadc is fully briefed about the crisis that arose out of the 2018 stolen election as there has been many official letters by the president (Chamisa) and several forms of communication. The South Africans have noted that, the Angolans, the Zambians and many other countries in Sadc have noted that there is a question of a disputed election in the country, as such that crisis Sadc is aware of,” Sibanda said.
Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana told NewsDay yesterday that Zimbabwe does not require external intervention.
“Well there is no political crisis in Zimbabwe which requires external intervention or mediation. Zimbabweans just need to speak to one another. President Mnangagwa has been clear from Day one that dialogue is not negotiation and the Sadc executive secretary has vindicated him,” Mangwana said.