Will SADC leaders speak on Zimbabwe as virtual summit gets under way?

Source: Will SADC leaders speak on Zimbabwe as virtual summit gets under way?

Civil society and the opposition in Zimbabwe warned that the region shouldn’t put Mnangagwa in charge of the politics, defence and security organ yet he was voted in last August.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa takes his oath of office in Harare on August 26, 2018 Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG – Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders are meeting virtually for their annual summit on Monday, and COVID-19 is expected to dominate talks.

But will they address the elephant in the room – Zimbabwe?

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa is the outgoing chair of the organ on politics defence and security.

Tanzania, the outgoing SADC chair, has said very little over the past year – let alone on Zimbabwe – and the country was expected to ensure political, defence and security stability over that period yet its neighbour, south of the Limpopo, had to send envoys to assess that country’s never-ending problems.

This has again raised questions about the need for the existence of the regional body that is headquartered in Botswana.

It’s been leading the international community on the return of stability in Lesotho, but that country has failed to conclude security and public sector reforms and instead its government changed mid-term for the fourth time in eight years this year, and Mnangagwa was nowhere to be seen.

Civil society and the opposition in Zimbabwe warned that the region shouldn’t put Mnangagwa in charge of the politics, defence and security organ yet he was voted in last August.

During the past year, Mnangagwa’s government has continued to be accused of persecuting the opposition and arresting of journalists and the visit last week by South Africa’s envoys is the role that Zimbabwe’s President was expected assume in other countries.

Now Pretoria is accused of excluding those affected by the actions of his regime.

So, can the summit tell it to Mnangagwa straight or is SADC as toothless as critics claim?

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