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There has been a lot of news coming from Zimbabwe over the last few weeks since the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) leaders were arrested and allegedly beaten up in police custody and now Sadc has realised they cant just look at the situation and hope it goes away.
Now that the meeting has taken place, Sadc has agreed that South African President Thabo Mbeki should try to promote political dialogue inside Zimbabwe. From what I have read so far no time limit has been set and so this can take as long as it takes and no detail has been given on how its going to be done.
Its a good start at least on the part of Sadc to come along and try and arrange talks between the opposing forces in the Zimbabwe crisis but this has been going on for a long time now that Sadc should have taken action a long time now. Maybe its a question of better late than never.
Being the regional grouping for the Southern African region, a lot is expected from Sadc not only regarding the situation in Zimbabwe but also the other member Sadc countries. One cannot expect the African Union (AU) to do anything at all because to me it looks like the AU is mostly concerned about the African leaders only with not much attention given to the African people.
I wonder whether something would have been done had Sadc been more proactive like West African regional grouping Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). At least Ecowas has tried to bring on dialogue when problems have occurred in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone with a degree of success.
Now I am waiting to see Mbeki try and promote dialogue between Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe and the leaders of the two factions of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara and the other relevant parties.
ECOWAS, Nigeria assumes a leadership position. In SADC, the supposedly superpower gets cowered by Mugabe hence they are helpless when it comes to admonishing him.
Remember Mugabe went ahead and formed the SADC Defence thing brushing aside Mandela and SA and SADC in the process when he formed the pact with Namibia and Angola. SADC wanted to form a peacekeeping force and SA was going to be the Chairman , and Mugabe scuttled it and SA just stood and watched. While SA is powerful, their current leader is not.....
If you look at it, these economies are the same and its very difficult for their leaders to tell Mugabe anything because in reality there is nothing they can do to him, and Mugabe is not a present day prosperity oriented leader, but the old cold war I will fight for my sovereignty all conquering king type.
Also bear in mind that the meeting was organised at the instigation of the UK and its not a SADC initiative, so dont expect miracles from SADC. The SA Foreign Minister said before the meeting that Zimbabwe would have been different if UK hadnt got involved,......that shows the kind of out of date and hopeless SADC is
I dont think these guys have an iota of what is going on in Zimbabwe and how ruthless that guy is...the starting point is that there is no democracy in Zimbabwe, and its not a surprise that the communique that has been issued talks about sanctions lifting and that the opposition is on a war path........this has been Mugabe's propaganda all along....
My hope is that Mugabe gets psychiatric help and that he gets back his sanity and conscience and realise that he has destroyed the livelihood for everybody...this is not the age to be a dictator
Its just a talk shop for leaders to seek support from their fiends. I feel sorry for Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, he is the only one at least making some noise...but again it becomes difficult for an outsider to do anything what with ZANU (PF) overwhelming confirming Mugabe as their candidate.
We are headed for another rigging round...the only way is for the opposition to boycott and try to make the elections illegitimate and hopefully put pressure on the need to democratise the electoral institutions and processes... sad for Zimbabweans,...every other country in the region has changed and they have high hopes for the future
I think Sadc goes more by consesus and if you are a lone voice you will not be heard at all. Whilst a chairman could be able to respond quickly to the crisis in Zim by holding an emergency meeting, after that he is powerless as long as all the other leaders think there isn't a big problem in Zim or that its just the opposition behaving badly.
I agree with you though that there is no need to disband the organisation because it can be a vehicle of progress in the future.