From Farai Dzirutwe in MAPUTO, Mozambique
THE Sadc Troika has noted progress being made by principals in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement.
The Troika met on Thursday in Ma-puto ahead of the Sadc Summit yesterday.
President Mugabe (Zanu-PF), Pri-me Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Professor Welshman Ncube of MDC attended the meeting alongside their GPA negotiating teams.
Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara, who is embroiled in a leadership dispute with Prof Ncube, also attended the meeting despite being left out of Tuesday’s pre-summit meetings in Harare with Mr Zuma.
Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the Troika meeting went on well and acknowledged progress in the implementation of the GPA, but could not be drawn into the actual issues discussed.
“The Troika exhorted us to continue working towards the full implementation of the GPA and everything else went on well,” said Minister Chinamasa.
He said Prof Mutambara had raised a complaint against Mr Zuma during the meeting, accusing the South African leader of sidelining him from the GPA talks.
Prof Mutambara last night confirmed he attacked Mr Zuma’s decision to appoint Prof Ncube as a GPA principal.
He said the South African leader’s conduct was a violation of Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
“It is true that I complained bitterly about Mr Zuma’s conduct,” said Prof Mutambara.
“He came to Harare and unilaterally decided that Prof Ncube is the MDC principal and that the MDC congress was valid and yet the matter is still pending before the Supreme Court which is the final legal authority.
“Anyone who undermines the Supreme Court by making a determination on a pending issue is violating Zimbabwe’s laws and Constitution. I am the one who appended my signature to the GPA and it is high time we separated things that are legal from those that are political.
“I told the Troika that Mr Zuma should change his behaviour or recuse himself from the process and everyone acknowledged my point.”
MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti told journalists that both the Troika meeting and yesterday’s summit deliberations went on well although there were still some issues to be ironed out.
Meanwhile, new Lesotho Prime Minister Mr Thomas Thabane said Sadc member-states should collectively call for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
He said the embargoes were undermining the country’s sovereignty.
Addressing regional leaders and hundreds of delegates after the opening of the 32nd Ordinary Sadc summit here yesterday, Mr Thabane said progress recorded in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement justified the need to lift the embargoes.
He said Sadc should not brook any external interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs, adding that the recent partial lifting of sanctions by the European Union was inconsequential.
“The progress that is being recorded in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe is not insignificant.
“We wish that sisterly country success in the full implementation of the agreement.
“Our region has consistently stood together to reject externally-imposed solutions that seek to undermine the hard-earned political and economic independence of Zimbabwe.
“Despite the limited relaxation of sanctions by countries of the European Union, we must continue to call for the lifting of all sanctions against Zimbabwe.”
In his salutation before delivering his speech, Mr Thabane referred to the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Mugabe, as “our father” to applause from the summit delegates.
Mr Thabane, who became Lesotho’s Prime Minister on June 12, succeeding the long-serving Pakalitha Mosisili, also urged the regional bloc to urgently act to resolve the political crisis in Madagascar and the military conflict in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo where government forces are battling insurgents.
The new Lesotho PM was among three new regional leaders invited to make their maiden addresses to the Sadc leaders together with Zambian President Mr Michael Sata and Malawian President Joyce Banda.
The three took office after the last ordinary Sadc summit, with President Sata assuming the presidency on September 23 last year while Mrs Banda was sworn in on April 7 this year following the death of Professor Bingu wa Mutharika.
Mr Sata stressed the need for regional peace, stability and security saying these were necessary ingredients for sustainable economic development.
He said conflicts affected trade among member-countries, adding that there was need to pursue peaceful dialogue in the remaining conflict areas
Mrs Banda called for closer regional co-operation and thanked Sadc member-states for supporting Malawi following the death of Prof wa Mutharika, for whom a minute of silence was observed at the start of the summit.
She said the region was enjoying peace, except for a few pockets of political instability, adding that sustainable economic development could not be achieved without tranquility.
Newly-elected African Union Commission chair Mrs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and African Development Bank president Dr Donald Kaberuka also addressed the summit.
Mrs Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman and southern African candidate to land the position, urged Africa to unite in confronting burning issues such as food and water security, climate change, pandemics and the empowerment of youths and women.