From Caesar Zvayi:
SADC yesterday said it was awaiting the announcement of the date for harmonised elections because nothing precluded Zimbabwe from holding elections as the bloc was happy with progress made towards that end and would stand guided by due process.
Addressing a Press conference after an extraordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government held on the sidelines of the 21st Ordinary Session of the African Union General Assembly here yesterday, the bloc’s executive secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao said elections could not continue to be postponed forever.
‘‘Our position as Sadc is that the Constitution was concluded and the next step is the election, whether it’s held within one month, two months, three months or the next six months, it is up to those with the powers to decide.
“We are waiting to hear the ruling of the Supreme Court, and as Sadc we will be there to support . . . We are basically waiting for the announcement of the day of the election so that we move this process forward,” Dr Salamao said.
The Supreme Court last week reserved judgment in the case in which a Harare man, Mr Jealousy Mawarire, is seeking to compel President Mugabe to announce the election date before the expiry of the life of the Seventh Parliament at midnight on June 29, saying failure to do so would see Zimbabwe run illegally without the third pillar of the State, the legislature.
The money for the elections, Dr Salamao said, would be found.
Responding to a question on MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent tour of the region to drum up support for a postponement of elections, Dr Salamao said if Mr Tsvangirai had concerns, he should table them before Sadc, but the reports they were getting were that he was happy with the build-up to elections.
MDC-T is seized with selecting candidates to contest the harmonised elections and concluded primary elections, and the controversial confirmation exercise in Harare and Chitungwiza over the weekend.
Turning to the communiqué, Dr Salamao said since it was the first time for the full summit to meet since the referendum, summit took note of the outcome and commended Zimbabwe for the manner in which the referendum was conducted.
Summit, he added, also took note of the fact that the Constitution had been concluded and adopted.
The summit had three items on the agenda which was to review the peace and security situation in the region with specific reference to Madagascar, DRC and Zimbabwe in that order.
On Madagascar, summit endorsed the position taken by the Troika, saying the AU Peace and Security Council had also endorsed the position and declared that they would not recognise any authorities elected in violation of the Sadc position.
On DRC, summit endorsed UN Resolution 2098 which paved way for the deployment of an intervention force into the eastern of that country, a process that was already under way.
Earlier on, as he emerged from the five-hour meeting, Troika chairperson Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete said he didn’t see any impediments to the holding of elections.
‘‘Why not? There is progress. We are hopeful, there is progress. We have to keep our fingers crossed for the next hurdle.
“We have made progress with the referendum. It went on very well and now there are preparations for the next election,’’ Mr Kikwete said.
Mr Kikwete’s comments come in the wake of last week’s signing into law, and publication of the new Constitution to pave way for elections constitutionally due on or before midnight June 29 when the life of the inclusive Government expires.
Meanwhile, the 21st Ordinary Session of the Africa Union General Assembly began here yesterday with leaders departing from convention to go straight into a closed session to tackle a broad agenda encompassing mapping Vision 2063 as well as the peace and security challenges facing the continent.
Traditionally there should be an opening ceremony until lunch time after which the leaders go into a closed session to discuss the agenda items and suggest requisite solutions.
Mali, which recently underwent unconstitutional regime change, was on the agenda along with Madagascar which is in an impasse since a 2009 coup as well the DRC whose eastern region has been overrun by rebels that a UN-backed force has failed to contain.
President Mugabe joined other heads of state and government here for the mid-term indaba that came on the heels of a glittering launch of year-long Golden Jubilee Celebrations on Saturday night.