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Sadc warns Mugabe over political violence

The Sadc Troika met in South Africa yesterday, where they castigated violence in Zimbabwe.

BY NQABA MATSHAZI

The leaders also urged the country to ensure that peace prevails ahead of the referendum and elections.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma gave a report back on the situation in Zimbabwe and the country’s preparedness for the referendum.

“Sadc called for an end to violence,” Zuma’s international adviser, Lindiwe Zulu said. “Sadc has consistently called for the end of violence in Zimbabwe.”

She said the recurrence of violence was a concern to Zuma, the facilitator to the Zimbabwe crisis and to the regional body.

Zulu said the South African president had also read statements from Zanu PF and the two MDCs, and urged that the referendum be held in a conducive environment.

“Sadc is concerned about the readiness of the parties ahead of the referendum,” she said. “The facilitation gave a progress report on the state of preparedness for the referendum.”

Zulu could not be drawn further into commenting on recent cases of violence and a clampdown on civil society, saying a communique would be issued later.

The Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security is chaired by Tanzania and includes South Africa, Namibia and regional chair, Mozambique.

MDC-T, a fortnight ago went on a diplomatic offensive, accusing Zanu PF of promoting violence and called for an extraordinary Sadc summit on the situation in Zimbabwe.

Jameson Timba, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday confirmed the meeting.

He said the meeting was only for the troika, but the three GPA parties, Zanu PF and the two MDCs, had been asked to submit written submissions.
MDC secretary general, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Sadc executive secretary, Tomaz Salamo had informed party leader, Welshman Ncube about the summit.

Timba said there had been an escalation in violence and intimidation, culminating in the death of 12-year-old Christpowers Maisiri, who died in a suspected arson attack at his family’s Headlands home.

Zanu PF and the MDC-T have traded counter accusations on who was to blame for the death of Christpowers, but the latter maintains that the attack had the hallmark of the former’s terror campaign.

He said as a party, they were worried about the conduct of the police, who have in recent days, heightened their onslaught on civil society organisations.

A number of organisations have been raided on various charges, with authorities accusing them of smuggling radios into the country.
In its 2012 conference resolutions, Zanu PF seemed to intimate a crackdown on non-governmental organisations and the recent police onslaught seems to be part of that agenda.

“[The conference] instructs the party to ensure that [the] government enforces the de-registration of errant NGOs, deviating from their mandate,” reads one of the resolutions.

Zim Police still partisan: Timba

Another resolution by Zanu PF condemned the United States, Britain and the European Union (EU) for distributing shortwave radios and other communication devices, saying this undermined the government.

“[The conference] condemns EU, America and [the] white Commonwealth countries for supplying ICT gadgets, such as cellphones, decoders, radios to communities to create conditions for the broadcast and spread of falsehoods to distort so as to undermine confidence in the electoral process and trigger Arab-style civil unrest,” another resolution reads.

Timba said, with these resolutions in mind, it was clear that the police were taking instructions from Zanu PF, illustrating how partisan the force was.

“There is a direct correlation between what is happening now and the resolutions, this shows that the police are partisan,” he said.

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