News / Africa

Zimbabwe's Political Impasse High on SADC Agenda

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (C) and Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza (2nd L red tie) arrive with other regional leaders for a summit of the Southern African Development Community in Mozambique's capital Maputo, August 17, 2012.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (C) and Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza (2nd L red tie) arrive with other regional leaders for a summit of the Southern African Development Community in Mozambique's capital Maputo, August 17, 2012.
MAPUTO — The 15-member regional bloc known as the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, began meeting in the Mozambican capital, Maputo on Friday.  During the two-day meeting, heads of state will address several regional issues including Zimbabwe's ongoing political impasse.  SADC leaders are pressing Zimbabwe's leaders to agree on a draft constitution amid signs that President Robert Mugabe is unhappy with it. 

The sudden departure of South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, overshadowed the first day of the SADC summit.  Zuma decided to fly home Friday after labor unrest led to shootings and deaths at a platinum mine in his country on Thursday.
 
His departure highlighted the difficulty SADC leaders face - policing their peers when their domestic problems overshadow other regional conflicts.

As SADC mediator on Zimbabwe, Zuma's presence in Maputo was vital.  Nevertheless, Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) said it hoped the SADC could pressure President Robert Mugabe, leader of the ZANU-PF party, to stick to seven resolutions, previously drawn up by the regional body, which were aimed at getting the country to agree on a new constitution and hold fresh elections next year.

The finance minister in Zimbabwe's fragile unity government, Tendai Biti of the MDC party, said he feared the SADC might leave space for further mediation on the issue of the draft constitution.

"Where there was some ambiguity, resolution Six says if there is a problem around the constitution then the facilitator will come in and intervene," he said. "That seems to anticipate that there will be a challenge given that the ZANU-PF politburo has already come up with an alternative draft constitution."

Meanwhile the SADC's newest conflict showed signs of a faster resolution.

Earlier this month, Tanzania said it was prepared to go to war with Malawi over the right to extract fuel from Lake Malawi, which both countries share.

Malawi's president, Joyce Banda, clearly stated before arriving at the summit she wanted peace. Officials from both countries are meeting on the margins of the conference.

Michael Sata made a joke about the spat. "And I was joking with Malawi and Tanzania to say if they started fighting we are going to welcome the refugees from Tanzania and Malawi but they cease fire before they even fired one bullet," said Sata.

Other problems, however, will prove more difficult for the 15-member bloc to resolve.  Those include the unfolding crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where fighting in the east has displaced a quarter of a million people, as well as the impasse in Madagascar, where ousted president Marc Ravalomanana wants to be able to return to contest elections.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mercury
August 18, 2012 9:44 AM
Difficult to believe the Zimbabwean situation is high on the SADC Agenda, given its past record and that of SADC. Pressing people to agree is a strange way to resolve this complex situation. Where was the "pressing" in 2008 to end the violence.?
Who was listening then?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid