News / Africa

Zimbabwe's Political Impasse High on SADC Agenda

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (C) and Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza (2nd L red tie) arrive with other regional leaders for a summit of the Southern African Development Community in Mozambique's capital Maputo, August 17, 2012.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (C) and Mozambique's President Armando Guebuza (2nd L red tie) arrive with other regional leaders for a summit of the Southern African Development Community in Mozambique's capital Maputo, August 17, 2012.
MAPUTO — The 15-member regional bloc known as the Southern African Development Community, or SADC, began meeting in the Mozambican capital, Maputo on Friday.  During the two-day meeting, heads of state will address several regional issues including Zimbabwe's ongoing political impasse.  SADC leaders are pressing Zimbabwe's leaders to agree on a draft constitution amid signs that President Robert Mugabe is unhappy with it. 

The sudden departure of South Africa's president, Jacob Zuma, overshadowed the first day of the SADC summit.  Zuma decided to fly home Friday after labor unrest led to shootings and deaths at a platinum mine in his country on Thursday.
 
His departure highlighted the difficulty SADC leaders face - policing their peers when their domestic problems overshadow other regional conflicts.

As SADC mediator on Zimbabwe, Zuma's presence in Maputo was vital.  Nevertheless, Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change party (MDC) said it hoped the SADC could pressure President Robert Mugabe, leader of the ZANU-PF party, to stick to seven resolutions, previously drawn up by the regional body, which were aimed at getting the country to agree on a new constitution and hold fresh elections next year.

The finance minister in Zimbabwe's fragile unity government, Tendai Biti of the MDC party, said he feared the SADC might leave space for further mediation on the issue of the draft constitution.

"Where there was some ambiguity, resolution Six says if there is a problem around the constitution then the facilitator will come in and intervene," he said. "That seems to anticipate that there will be a challenge given that the ZANU-PF politburo has already come up with an alternative draft constitution."

Meanwhile the SADC's newest conflict showed signs of a faster resolution.

Earlier this month, Tanzania said it was prepared to go to war with Malawi over the right to extract fuel from Lake Malawi, which both countries share.

Malawi's president, Joyce Banda, clearly stated before arriving at the summit she wanted peace. Officials from both countries are meeting on the margins of the conference.

Michael Sata made a joke about the spat. "And I was joking with Malawi and Tanzania to say if they started fighting we are going to welcome the refugees from Tanzania and Malawi but they cease fire before they even fired one bullet," said Sata.

Other problems, however, will prove more difficult for the 15-member bloc to resolve.  Those include the unfolding crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where fighting in the east has displaced a quarter of a million people, as well as the impasse in Madagascar, where ousted president Marc Ravalomanana wants to be able to return to contest elections.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mercury
August 18, 2012 9:44 AM
Difficult to believe the Zimbabwean situation is high on the SADC Agenda, given its past record and that of SADC. Pressing people to agree is a strange way to resolve this complex situation. Where was the "pressing" in 2008 to end the violence.?
Who was listening then?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid