AU to second SADC recommendation on Zimbabwe

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The African Union will adopt in total the recommendation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) aimed at resolving the current political crisis in Zimbabwe, Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs minister, Mr. Bernard Membe, said Thursday, at the start of the African Union Executive Council meeting.

Membe, who chairs the executive council, the top decision making organ of the AU that consists of foreign ministers of member-states, expressed regret that the Zimbabwean crisis had taken longer than had been anticipated and needed to brought to a speedy conclusion.

In his speech that also outlined the broad agenda of the 12th Ordinary Session of the council, Membe said that a SADC progress report on the Zimbabwe crisis was expected in the next three days for consideration and possible adoption ahead of the heads of state summit that gets underway on 1 February.

Membe’s statement was made even as Zimbabwe’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has repudiated the deal brokered by SADC on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, MDC complained that regional mediators had not addressed its concerns in brokering the power-sharing deal at a summit in South Africa, where President Robert Mugabe and main rival Morgan Tsvangirai were given the green light to press ahead and form a long awaited coalition government by next month.

This followed months of disagreements between the two on the formation of a jointly run government, with each side accusing the other of trying to scuttle the power-sharing deal first struck in Septmber last year.

Under the SADC-brokered deal, Tsvangirai is supposed to be sworn in as prime minister on 11 February, and a coalition government to be formed shortly after. But MDC’s spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the SADC mediators had “fallen far short of our expectations.”

“We did put to the summit our position on outstanding issues. Unfortunately our expectations were not met, our case was not received. In fact, there was no objective understanding and assessment of the situation,” he said.

The Zimbabwe political imbroglio is one of the crises that have dominated the agenda of the AU.

Other trouble spots

Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, Mauritania and Guinea are the other hotspots to which Membe said the meeting would devote a lot of attention.

“There is nothing like a good or bad coup d’etat. It cannot be admitted to this house. Africa has had enough of these and we are not here to entertain the old political life on the 1960s and the 1970s,” Membe said of the two military coups in Guinea and Mauritania and the attempted one in Guinea Bissau last year.

The agenda of the executive council consists of 40 substantive items that broadly cover security, human resources development, science and technology, democracy, food, transport, infrastructure development and energy.

Among other things, the Tanzanian Foreign Minister said that the continental organisation was faced with mobilising financial resources from alternative sources to finance its budget of US$164,256,817.

“Although we have not yet made a landmark breakthrough on alternative sources of financing the union, an encouraging progress has been made,” he said.

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