Mugabe basks in SADC glory

via Mugabe basks in SADC glory | The Financial Gazette by Ray Ndlovu 26 Sep 2013

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is basking in the glory of his new role as the deputy chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which he described as an “honour” bestowed upon him by regional peers.

His acceptance into the regional fold after years of near isolation marks a significant change of fortune for the 89-year-old leader who had been cast as a pariah; weighed down on one hand by sanctions imposed by the West and on the other by his failure to win over sympathy from SADC.

Addressing the Eighth session of Parliament, President Mugabe laid down the direction of the country’s foreign policy, which is hinged on consolidating co-operation with regional partners and extending an olive branch to former foes.

“…Zimbabwe will continue to demand the immediate and unconditional removal of the illegal sanctions imposed by some Western countries. Regionally, we will continue to play an active role in the African Union, COMESA and SADC where we have recently been elected as deputy chair. We will therefore have the honour of hosting the SADC summit of heads of state in August 2014, when we assume the chairmanship of the grouping,” said President Mugabe.

Until now, SADC had appeared to have lent its ear to the opposition  Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Morgan Tsvangirai which was livid over President Mugabe’s unwillingness to accede to political reforms under the unity government.

The MDC-T was, however, dealt a huge blow after SADC election observer mission gave the thumbs up to the July 31 poll and endorsed the vote as “free, peaceful and generally credible”.

That endorsement dashed whatever lingering hopes of recourse that Tsvangirai and his allies had of a reversal of the election results, which he has refused to recognise.

President Mugabe won 61 percent of votes against Tsvangirai’s 33 percent in the national elections in which the latter described as a “huge farce” and a “monumental fraud”.

President Mugabe’s victory, although questioned by local groups, has borne even tougher questions for Tsvangirai who is batting off calls for a leadership renewal from his close political lieutenants.

Roy Bennett, the MDC-T treasurer-general has suggested that Tsvangirai’s continued hold on power did not reflect the will of the people.

The claims of fraud and how the election was ‘stolen’ by President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF with the help of an Israeli-linked company, Nikuv International Projects which resonated at the MDC-T’s 14th anniversary celebration held in Mutare have fizzled out and are unlikely to find an audience in SADC, in whose leadership structures President Mugabe now firmly sits.

President Mugabe, will assume the rotating chair from Malawi President Joyce Banda — the current chairwoman of the regional bloc — at the SADC summit which Harare will host next August.

Political observers said President Mugabe was thinking about his legacy and it mattered to him how he would be remembered by SADC when he finally exited the political stage.

“It’s a curtain call for President Mugabe and he is very much pre-occupied now by legacy issues and that is why he said the election was ‘the fight of our lives’, signalling its significance and importance to him,” said Rashweat Mukundu, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.

Other political observers said President Mugabe had brought up the issue of his SADC chairmanship to rub his victory into the wounds of his political opponents in the MDC-T.

“It was a subtle reminder to all his opponents that he has the full support of SADC and his government is recognised as legitimate,” said Khanyile Mlotshwa, a political commentator.

The West, led by the United States, has questioned President Mugabe’s win and expressed “grave concern” over how the election was conducted, although it was peaceful and had no outbreak of violence — in stark contrast to the bloodletting that marked the 2008 election contest.

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 4
  • comment-avatar
    Charles Chamunorwa 7 years ago

    Something is also wrong with SADC. How can it be led by a 90 year old man who has a monumental record of destroying one of the best economies in Africa. With that type of mentality Africa will never move forward. No wonder why the whole continent was colonised by thirty white men only.

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 7 years ago

    LET THESE PROFS FORM OWN PARTY!

  • comment-avatar
    Mark Talbot 7 years ago

    SADC has failed utterly. This would be a joke if it weren’t so tragic for the people of Southern Africa.

  • comment-avatar
    Bruce 7 years ago

    MDCs blundered by continuing in GNU after two years when it was clear from Zanu PF that they will not align functions to the new constitution. The security sector, POSA, and access to information and other different pieces of legislations which should have been thrown into the bin after GNU was operational. they remained assernal in the hands of Zanu PF to frustrate the other political parties. Thus when MDCs lost the elections. When Zanu PF finaly rigged, it was because the provisions of the GNU were never implimented which Zanu PF deliberately kept intact. From the on set, it was common knowledge that Zanu PF maintained its power base from CIO, ZRP and ZDF. Those were never touched Why? MDCs should have pulled out from GNU, insteady of threatening a pull out or boycottying election. Unfortrunately they lost out after getting so close to call the shorts when the world could listern. Now they are in the dusty bin, next thing as already happening, is MDCs members in particular those with Zanu PF links to either go back to their master with councillor, MP or such post to Zanu PF or to be intimidated by Zanu PF and join it.