News / Africa

Zimbabwe Expected to Top SADC Meetings

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, center, and fellow regional leaders arrive for 15-nation SADC summit, Maputo, Mozambique, Aug. 17, 2012.
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe, center, and fellow regional leaders arrive for 15-nation SADC summit, Maputo, Mozambique, Aug. 17, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Anita Powell
— Zimbabwe has given the Southern African Development Community a lot of headaches in recent years. After the violent and disputed elections of 2008, the 15-nation bloc had to pressure President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to form a power-sharing government.
 
This year, SADC helped shepherd the fractious southern African nation toward July 31 elections. The vote was largely peaceful, but not free of problems: the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said the poll was rigged, and Zimbabwe Election Support Network, the nation’s largest observer mission, has cited problems with the voters’ roll, voter intimidation and reports of ballot-tampering.
 
At the SADC's upcoming summit, Zimbabwe is again expected to dominate the agenda.
 
While the regional bloc's own observer mission certified the poll as free and peaceful in an initial report, even Zimbabwe's official electoral commission has since acknowledged problems. On Thursday, SADC officials said nearly 305,000 voters were turned away from the polls, and that the bulk of them — nearly 65,000 voters — were in the capital, Harare, an opposition stronghold.
 
In the final results, President Mugabe was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote and his ZANU-PF party won two-thirds of the seats in parliament. Tsvangirai has said his MDC party will challenge the results in court and boycott the country's next government.
 
South Africa, an SADC heavyweight, was quick to congratulate Mugabe on his victory, but government officials in neighboring Botswana are calling on SADC to investigate the election.
 
"Our position is that in the context of the SADC guidelines for electoral process — and indeed, bearing in mind the findings of the wider SADC electoral mission — that SADC itself should take up this issue," said Botswana information minister Jeff Ramsay. "We are proposing that an independent audit be undertaken so that there’s a way of assessing the situation — and, really, for lessons moving forward."
 
Tom Wheeler of the South African Institute of International Affairs doubts the SADC is likely to answer Botswana’s call.
 
"Botswana ... has always taken a different position on Zimbabwe," he said. "This is not the first time that they’ve been critical of what’s happening in Zimbabwe, and so it’s not out of character, but at the same time I think that neither will it ... influence SADC."
 
Wheeler added that he does not expect SADC to feel compelled to build a coalition government in Zimbabwe this time around.
 
"In 2008, the coalition government was put together because of the extent of violence and general mayhem, whereas I think ZANU-PF have learned this time to make sure that there isn’t such a thing to such an extent, and therefore the urgency for creating a government of national unity, or whatever you’d like to call it, isn’t there to the extent that it was in 2008," he said.
 
SADC ministers meet this weekend in Malawi's capital, Lilongwe, where heads of state will convene the SADC Summit of Heads of State and Governments on August 17 and 18.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid