1 February 2013

Southern Africa: SADC Representatives Expected

THE two Sadc representatives who should have been seconded to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) last year are now expected in the country "any time soon" to monitor the volatile political situation ahead of crucial elections expected later this year.

This was disclosed at a meeting between the Sadc facilitation team comprising spokesperson and President Jacob Zuma's international relations adviser Lindiwe Zulu and Zuma's political adviser Charles Nqakula, and the negotiating teams from the three political parties.

Zanu PF was represented by Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Transport minister Nicholas Goche; the MDC-T had Finance minister Tendai Biti and Energy minister Elton Mangoma while the MDC's Regional Integration minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga and National Reconciliation minister Moses Mzila-Ndlovu also attended the meeting.

The two Sadc representatives, David Katye of Tanzania and Colly Muunyu of Zambia, should have joined Jomic in November last year, but Zanu PF has been resisting this move arguing that it was tantamount to interfering with the country's sovereignty.

A third official from South Africa was dropped since the neighbouring country is the regional bloc's official facilitator.

Disagreements over terms of reference for the team by the political parties also delayed their deployment.

Zanu PF wanted the terms of reference to be clarified to ensure they would not interfere with the country's sovereignty.

Mangoma said: "It was discussed that the Sadc technical team be deployed in as soon as possible."

According to sources, it was also agreed at the meeting that negotiators go back to the election roadmap and ensure it is implemented before elections.

A Sadc diplomat told the Independent this week that Mugabe and Zanu PF were using the issue of sovereignty to block Katye and Muunyu from coming to the country.

The sources were, however, quick to point out that during these deliberations, the two MDCs never expressed their objection to Mugabe's excuses.

"It is interesting that no one was questioning what happened to the two Sadc representatives whose presence is crucial in terms of monitoring the political environment in the run-up to elections and also to help Jomic ensure the agreed reforms are implemented before the elections," said one diplomat.

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