SADC says Zimbabwe election not on agenda at Malawi summit

Mugabe in Malawi last year
Mugabe in Malawi last year
The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) will not table the outcome of the Zimbabwean election during a summit in Malawi, a senior official said on Wednesday.

Director of Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Tankie Mothae told journalists in Lilongwe that Zimbabwe is not on the agenda because the electoral process this year was not as troublesome as in 2008.

“All of us have agreed on the report. As Sadc we are very happy with the electoral process, the time the situation was different from the last ealections,” said Mothae, who was part of the SADC observer team in Zimbabwe.

“Based on the preliminary report released by a SADC observer team, the body feels that the electoral process this year was not as problematic as in 2008 when even the regional grouping condemned the results,” he said.

He said if ever Zimbabwe will be discussed during the summit, it will just be by way of general reports on the review of the policies which would also touch on other countries and not specifically on Zimbabwe and the elections.

President Robert Mugabe’s reelection as president has shocked many in Zimbabwe and the world, and stirred a storm of mixed congratulations and recrimination among leaders in the southern Africa region like Botswana President who has accused Mugabe of voter fraud.

The situation of a possibly stolen election and an inability to agree on how to deal with it could be divisive in the region, analysts say, and undermine needed confidence.

The African Union and the Sadc bloc initially described the elections as free and fair.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, who has been SADC’s point-man on Zimbabwe, congratulated Mugabe soon after the July 31 election, which was later announced as a landslide for Mugabe.

There are fears that an acrimonious post-election dispute could spill over into violence, as happened after the last election in 2008, when 200 MDC supporters were killed in the wake of a first-round defeat for Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980.