13 June 2011

Zimbabwe: SADC's True Position On Zimbabwe

Photo: Presidency of the Republic of South Africa
From left, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangarai and former leader Arthur Mutambara (file photo).

NO amount of agenda-setting or misinformation can change the outcome of the Extraordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government that rejected the Livingstone Troika document and refused to entertain issues outside the province of the GPA, analysts have said.

The two-day extraordinary summit, held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, over the weekend; caught merchants of illegal regime change flat-footed with some ascribing their own, hoped for meanings, to a communiqué that is in black and white.

Much of the media reports stem from insistence by MDC formations that the Livingstone report was adopted by summit when it was not.

A southern African diplomat accredited to Zimbabwe told The Herald, on condition of anonymity, that those conversant with diplomatic conventions would ascribe no other meaning to the fact that summit's decision to "note" rather than "endorse" the Livingstone report meant that Livingstone was consigned to the dustbins of history.

"In diplomatic terms, if there is a report of a sub-committee of a body, if the report is not adopted that's the death of the report, and if you notice the communiqué has no reference to Livingstone," the source said adding, "If the Livingstone document was still a living document of Sadc, then it would have been formally adopted by summit, which it wasn't.

"So the fact of none adoption, of silence marked the death of the Livingstone document.

"In any case, all the principals from the three parties acknowledged that the situation in Zimbabwe was now radically different from what it was during the time of the Livingstone Troika Summit," he said.

Despite this, in a statement released after the summit, the MDC formations principally MDC-T, made several claims among them that summit had adopted the Livingstone communiqué, that the facilitator report had identified Zanu-PF as the offending party in Government and that Sadc resolved that the Troika would appoint a team of officials to join Jomic to ensure the monitoring, evaluation and full implementation of the GPA.

"It is gratifying to note that the Sadc summit adopted the resolutions of the troika in Livingstone.

"The adoption of the facilitator's report is particularly important for Zimbabwe as it identifies Zanu-PF as the offending party in the Inclusive Government," the MDC-T statement said in part.

Other papers claimed President Mugabe had been shot down over elections.

Contacted for comment, Presidential spokesman Mr George Charamba laughed off the poll claims.

"You can not argue, you can not claim that Sadc overruled President Mugabe on elections while at the same time saying Sadc asked the parties to produce a timeline for elections. The correct position is negotiators were asked to produce a timeline to the bundle of activities that they produced by first week of July so that the proposed timeline is ready for the August Summit of Sadc," he said.

A South African official said Tshwane wants to finalise the GPA issues before the August Summit where it will assume the chairmanship of the Troika because then it would be difficult to balance the roles of facilitator and Troika chair as it creates a conflict as SA will have to report to itself.

A source close to deliberations in the closed session revealed that Summit dwelled on three substantive points; the illegal economic sanctions, the Jomic report and the election roadmap.

"Summit received and deliberated on a report on sanctions led by the Sadc Committee that was sent to Brussels, London and the US, which reported back to Summit on its findings and to the consternation of the Summit, they said the Americans told them that the Government was not speaking with one voice on sanctions as there was a section within Government - in apparent reference to MDC-T - which was saying keep the sanctions in place because the sanctions are our sole leverage against Zanu-PF," the source said.

Contrary to media reports that Troika would be seconding a team to Jomic, the diplomat said, the issue had not yet been finalized as the facilitator was still to furnish the three main political parties with the terms of reference.

"The issue of Jomic was embraced in principle in Livingstone but Zanu-PF and the MDC (Ncube formation) insisted that lets look at the terms of reference and discuss those to find out exactly what is being meant by this proposal. So the terms of reference are awaited from the facilitator," he said.

Negotiators to the GPA revealed earlier this month that they had agreed on and endorsed minutes of the workshop they held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town, which minutes formed the basis of the chairman's report to Summit.

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