Principals to Meet Over Zimbabwe Constitution
Participants in the South African Development Community (SADC) summit in Mozambique. The regional organization has been in existence for 32 years., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Principals to meet over Constitution
Saturday, 18 August 2012 23:02
Farai Dzirutwe recently in MAPUTO, Mozambique
The 32nd Ordinary Sadc summit ended here yesterday evening with regional leaders adopting a resolution to call for the unconditional lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe while the summit commended the parties to the Global Political Agreement for the progress recorded in the drawing up of a new Constitution.
The leaders also resolved to uphold the decision they took last year that the controversial Sadc Tribunal should remain disbanded until member states fully agreed on a new protocol to re-establish the body.
The decision on the continued disbandment of the Sadc Tribunal followed successful lobbying from Zimbabwe, which felt there were attempts by some neo-colonial forces to undermine its sovereignty through the body.
A resolution was also passed that Professor Welshman Ncube and not Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara is the MDC principal even though their party leadership dispute is still pending at the Supreme Court.
Addressing journalists in Maputo after the summit, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Mugabe, expressed satisfaction at the outcome of meetings on Zimbabwe.
“We are very happy about the meeting. It went on very well. We all agree with the conclusions.
“We hope that the next meeting will be as successful as this one. On Zimbabwe, we reported on the position at which we are working towards elections and we are going to be working on our roadmap as soon as we get back home.
“We will be working with the facilitator and we do hope that work on the constitution will end soon and there will be a referendum before we have an election, so we are very happy,” said President Mugabe.
He said the principals would meet to decide the way forward on the draft Constitution, adding that the Copac management committee had no mandate to endorse the draft.
“The principals have not yet met on the draft. It is Copac that says that they have endorsed the draft and not us. The final say is with the principals and not the ministers. That is why we are the principals,” said President Mugabe.
Sadc called on the three parties in the inclusive Government to set timelines for the conclusion of the constitution-making process.
In a communique issued after the summit, Sadc said it had adopted the report of the Sadc facilitator to Zimbabwe, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, which noted progress in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement. “(The) Summit urged signatories to the GPA to develop a roadmap with timelines that are guided by the requirements of the process necessary for the adoption of the constitution and the creation of conditions for free and fair elections to be held.
“(The) Summit resolved that if there are any difficulties with regard to the Constitution and implementation of agreements, the facilitator should be called upon to engage with the parties and assist them resolve such issues,” reads part of the communiqué.
Sources who attended the closed session on Zimbabwe said the regional leaders decided to recognise Prof Ncube as the leader of MDC and therefore as the party’s principal despite Prof Mutambara’s strong objection at the Troika meeting held before the full summit.
The sources said the decision had been reached to expedite the implementation of the GPA but warned that this could precipitate a crisis if the Supreme Court ruled in Prof Mutambara’s favour.
A senior Government official said although the full Sadc summit eventually supported the decision earlier taken by Mr Zuma to exclude Prof Mutambara from the GPA talks, the South African leader should not have taken that position before the summit as his impartiality as a facilitator would be called into question.
President Zuma visited Zimbabwe last week ahead of the summit and declined to meet Prof Mutambara, who went on to complain to the Sadc Troika about his exclusion from the GPA talks before his party leadership dispute with Prof Ncube was legally resolved.
Sadc, however, supported Mr Zuma’s stance saying: “The facilitator and the chair of the Troika must engage on the Zimbabwe issues with the three political parties to the GPA through their Presidents and Principals, namely President Robert Mugabe, (Zanu-PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) and Professor Welshman Ncube (MDC).”
President Mugabe returned home last night.