South African President Jacob Zuma, currently chairman of the Southern African Development Community, said Wednesday that the regional grouping will continue to support Zimbabwe’s unity government until free and fair elections can be held in the country.
In a state of the union address that focused mainly on South Africa’s economic situation, Mr. Zuma urged “all peace-loving countries of the world” to support the unity government in Harare to help it repair an economy devastated by a decade of neglect.
He noted that Zimbabwe’s political, economic and social crisis has had a negative impact on the entire region. South Africa has had to absorb millions of Zimbabwean refugees, who continue to flock over the border despite the "all-inclusive" government at home.
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, meanwhile, told a summit of the Common Market for Southern and Eastern Africa in progress this week in in Victoria Falls that the unity government's formation had laid the foundation for economic recovery.
But SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao said the organization hasn’t decided whether to hold yet another a special summit to help resolve the "outstanding issues" troubling the government – chief among which are the tenure of Gideon Gono as governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Johannes Tomana as attorney general.
Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change insists that Gono, who was reappointed late last year by President Robert Mugabe after the signature of a power-sharing agreement but before the formation of the government, and Tomana, named around the same time, must be replaced.
Gono has acknowledged raiding private bank accounts at the central bank to fund Mr. Mugabe's previous government, and Tomana has been accused of playing fast and loose with the law to harass members of Mr. Tsvangirai's party, civic activists and rights defenders.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party wants a SADC summit as soon as possible.
Political analyst Rejoyce Ngwenya said he is confident that SADC, under Mr. Zuma’s leadership, will help resolve the intra-government tensions in Harare.