THE SADC Troika meeting on Zimbabwe and other regional hot-spots has been moved to Friday with President Robert Mugabe’s push for new elections before year-end expected to dominate deliberations.
SADC leaders have gathered in the Angolan capital Luanda for an Extra-Ordinary Summit which was to be preceded, Thursday, by a meeting of the organisation’s Troika, an organ which deals with defence and security issues.
But state radio reported that the Troika meeting had been delayed because of the late arrival of South African President Jacob Zuma due to commitments back home.
Zuma leads the SADC initiative on Zimbabwe and is trying to help parties to the coalition government implement political reforms and agree a so-called road-map to new elections.
The MDC formation led by Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube said the Troika meeting had been called to give other coalition parties a chance to respond to Mugabe’s push for new elections.
“The heads of State meeting is now going to be preceded by a meeting of the SADC Organ for Politics and Security or the Troika,” party spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said in a statement Thursday.
“This was not the initial plan but it has been necessitated by the fact that after our colleagues in Zanu PF surreptitiously lobbied SADC head of States to call for Zimbabwe to hold elections this year with or without implementing that which has been agreed.”
Over the last two weeks, Mugabe dispatched top aides, Vice President John Nkomo as well as Ministers Emmerson Mngangagwa and Sydney Sekeramayi to lobby several regional leaders ahead of the Angola meeting.
Dube claimed the Zanu PF leader urged regional counterparts to allow new elections “with or without a new national constitution, with or without agreeing on implementation of the agreed Road Map to elections which seeks to bring about a credible election free of intimidation and violence, an election which would not lead to yet another dispute and negotiated settlement or GPA/GNU in another name.”
He added: “Our party protested to SADC who have called for the meeting of the Troika in order to hear what the MDC and MDC-T have to say about the Zanu PF call for elections.”
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party want new elections held before year-end to replace the coalition government, arguing the arrangement was no longer workable.
But rivals insist political reforms must be completed to ensure the election result is beyond dispute.
Said Dube: "We are firm in our resolve that elections must only be held under a new constitution which amongst other provisions will confine generals to the barracks and keep them away from meddling in politics.
“Elections must be held under an environment of peace and security in order for Zimbabweans to make a fair, true and undiluted selection of a leader or leaders."