22 July 2012

Zimbabwe: Salomão to Visit Zim

SADC executive secretary, Tomaz Salomão, is expected in Zimbabwe later this month or the next month ahead of the Sadc summit in Maputo, Mozambique, to assess progress made by political parties since the formation of the unity government in 2009.

According to diplomats at the Sadc headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana, Salomão's visit, whose dates are yet to be finalised, will be before the regional bloc's Maputo summit.

"Salomao is expected to visit Harare this month-end or early next month before the forthcoming Sadc summit to assess the political situation and progress in the implementation of the organisation's resolutions on Zimbabwe," a senior Sadc diplomat told the Zimbabwe Independent from Gaborone. "The 32nd ordinary meeting of the Sadc summit of heads of state and government is scheduled to take place from August 17 to 18, 2012, while its preceding meetings will be taking place from August 12 to 16, 2012 in Maputo, Mozambique."

Contacted for a comment, Salomão however refused to confirm his visit. Sources say it was because consultations were still to be finalised and all stakeholders informed.

Salomão's visit would come after the recent Luanda Summit which pressured Sadc-appointed facilitator, South Africa President Jacob Zuma to push parties to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to implement agreed reforms, finalise the constitution-making process and hold a referendum to pave way for elections next year.

Sadc said preparations for elections should be done within the next 12 months after full implementation of outstanding GPA reforms. The regional bloc has struggled to unlock the over decade-long Zimbabwean political stalemate as several summits have made resolutions on the issue which have not been fully implemented.

At the recent Luanda summit, Sadc however said it noted with satisfaction the progress made in the implementation of the GPA and urged parties "stand by the provisions of agreement and to continue with their commitment to the process in the best interest of the people of Zimbabwe".

The summit also urged the European Union and United States to lift all forms of sanctions on the country.

Since the coalition government was formed, Sadc has been seized with the Zimbabwe situation. In September 2009, regional leaders met in Kinshasa to deal with the situation and called for the sanctions removal.

In November 2009, the Sadc troika of the organ on politics, defence and security cooperation gathered in Maputo after the MDC-T's withdrawal from government to consider the political and security situation in the region.

The summit was attended by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Deputy Prime Ministers Arthur Mutambara and Thokozani Khupe, after the MDC-T had disengaged, accusing Zanu PF of acting in bad faith.

The summit decided all political parties signatory to the GPA engage in dialogue with immediate effect, and again called for the removal of sanctions.

In August 2012, Sadc leaders met in Windhoek, Namibia, and came up with a timetable for GPA implementation but local parties failed to implement the issues.

In March 2011, the troika convened in Livingstone, Zambia, where Zuma presented a hard-hitting report. Further summits followed in Sandton, Johannesburg, and Luanda recently.

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