1 April 2011
Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have called for an end to the conflicts in the southern African region, particularly in Zimbabwe and Madagascar.
This comes as tensions in Zimbabwe’s uneasy unity government heat up, with President Robert Mugabe pushing for elections this year. Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have repeatedly locked horns over implementing the Global Political Agreement.
“There must be an immediate end to violence, intimidation, hate speech, harassment, and any other form of action that contradicts the letter and spirit of dialogue,” leaders from the regional bloc said in a statement following a meeting in Zambia on Thursday.
The meeting, which was attended by Zambian President Rupiah Banda, Namibian President Hifikepunya Pohamba, South African President Jacob Zuma, Mozambique President Armando Emilio Guebuza, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, called for the implement all the provisions of a power sharing agreement, including the completion of constitutional amendments and a referendum.
It also noted with grave concern the polarisation of the political environment as characterised by the resurgence of violence, arrest and intimidation in Zimbabwe.
“The summit recalled past SADC decisions on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and noted with disappointment insufficient progress thereof and expressed its impatience in the delay of the implementation of the GPA,” reads the communique.
The summit also pledged to assist Zimbabwe in preparing for a peaceful, free and fair election.
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have said they are ready for elections that would put an end to the transitional government.
The leaders also urged Madagascar to immediately restore constitutional order, pledging full support to the SADC mediation team to help Madagascar find a lasting solution to its crisis.
Regarding the situation in other parts of the African continent, the leaders called on Cote d’Ivoire strongman Laurent Gbagbo to cede power to Allassane Ouattara, the internationally recognised winner of Ivorian presidential elections, to avoid further bloodshed.
Tensions are high in Ivory Coast, with rebels backing the country’s internationally recognised president Ouattara.
Ouattara forces have swept across Ivory Coast this week, seizing cities and towns and facing only minor resistance from incumbent Gbagbo’s security.
The United Nations said on Thursday that at least 494 people have been killed since the political crisis began in early December. It says up to one million people have been displaced, with thousands fleeing west to Liberia or east to Ghana.
With regards to Libya, the summit noted with concern the obtrusive measures taken by some countries, which go beyond the letter and the spirit of the UN resolution on the no-fly zone.
The leaders called for adherence to the political course initiated by the African Union to pave the way for a political solution in Libya.