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.
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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid