Maputo — Regional leaders who convened for the SADC summit in Maputo have heaped praise on South Africa's President Jacob Zuma for his mediation to the Zimbabwean political impasse.
The two-day Heads of State Summit which ended in Maputo on Saturday elected Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete as the new chairperson of the regional body's Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. This effectively makes Kikwete the new facilitator in Zimbabwe at a time that the country is about to hold a referendum on a new constitution.
The summit adopted Zuma's report on Zimbabwe and said it noted progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed by Zimbabwean politicians in 2008. It urged signatories to the GPA to develop a road map with timelines that were guided by the requirements necessary for the adoption of the new constitution. Zuma had to leave the summit early on Friday due to a domestic problem in South Africa.
Kikwete said: "We are grateful to South Africa and President Zuma for steering the affairs of the organ so well in the past year...we will surely build on the good work he and other members of the troika organ have done".
He said the new members of the Troika will work with Zimbabweans in ensuring that all the necessary institutions were in place to allow for the adoption of that country's new constitution, a process SADC wants to see completed in a few months.
Zimbabwean leaders have also been urged to work with a SADC appointed facilitator to iron out any challenges with regard to the constitution and its implementation ahead of the June 2013 deadline, "bearing in mind the timeframes and the necessity to hold free and fair elections".
"Summit resolved that if there are any difficulties with regards to the constitution and implementation of agreements, the facilitator should be called up to engage with the parties and assist them to resolve such issues".
On Madagascar, SADC called on Malagasy political players to implement the road map agreed to in Luanda last year and to create a favourable condition for free and fair elections.