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

    Leaving Scalia Replacement to 2017 Would Mean Unusually Long Vacancy

    History of high court shows Obama not in unique situation during final year of presidency

    US Fact Checkers Debunk Some Republican Presidential Candidate Claims 

    Slim evidence for several claims made by Republican presidential candidates at their last debate ahead of next Saturday's key nominating election in South Carolina

    Uganda Presidential Debate a Small Victory for Democracy

    In homes and bars across country, Ugandans were fixated on their screens as eight political candidates running for president took part in national debate

    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?

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Ugandai
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    February 12, 2016 9:29 PM
    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video Refugees in Kenya Vie to Compete in Rio Olympics

    In Kenya, refugees from other African nations are training at a special camp and competing for a limited number of slots in this year's Rio Olympics under the flag of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Ngong, this is a first in Olympic history.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.