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More expected from Sadc

Its good to see that at last the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has now decided to formally discuss the Zimbabwe situation through the Emergency Sadc summit in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, instead of employing the usual rhetoric that the Zimbabweans must solve their problems by themselves.

There has been a lot of news coming from Zimbabwe over the last few weeks since the Movement for Democratic Change(MDC) leaders were arrested and allegedly beaten up in police custody and now Sadc has realised they cant just look at the situation and hope it goes away.

Now that the meeting has taken place, Sadc has agreed that South African President Thabo Mbeki should try to promote political dialogue inside Zimbabwe. From what I have read so far no time limit has been set and so this can take as long as it takes and no detail has been given on how its going to be done.

Its a good start at least on the part of Sadc to come along and try and arrange talks between the opposing forces in the Zimbabwe crisis but this has been going on for a long time now that Sadc should have taken action a long time now. Maybe its a question of better late than never.

Being the regional grouping for the Southern African region, a lot is expected from Sadc not only regarding the situation in Zimbabwe but also the other member Sadc countries. One cannot expect the African Union (AU) to do anything at all because to me it looks like the AU is mostly concerned about the African leaders only with not much attention given to the African people.

I wonder whether something would have been done had Sadc been more proactive like West African regional grouping Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). At least Ecowas has tried to bring on dialogue when problems have occurred in Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone with a degree of success.

Now I am waiting to see Mbeki try and promote dialogue between Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe and the leaders of the two factions of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara and the other relevant parties.

Wes, you mention ECOWAS and the thing to note is that in any setting they should be a leader . Thats how the world functions unfortunately. If yu look at the UN, the States takes decisions unilaterally and whips the UN into making resolutions to ratify its actions........unfortunate as it is that you end up promoting American interests, you get the job done.

ECOWAS, Nigeria assumes a leadership position. In SADC, the supposedly superpower gets cowered by Mugabe hence they are helpless when it comes to admonishing him.

Remember Mugabe went ahead and formed the SADC Defence thing brushing aside Mandela and SA and SADC in the process when he formed the pact with Namibia and Angola. SADC wanted to form a peacekeeping force and SA was going to be the Chairman , and Mugabe scuttled it and SA just stood and watched. While SA is powerful, their current leader is not.....

If you look at it, these economies are the same and its very difficult for their leaders to tell Mugabe anything because in reality there is nothing they can do to him, and Mugabe is not a present day prosperity oriented leader, but the old cold war I will fight for my sovereignty all conquering king type.

Also bear in mind that the meeting was organised at the instigation of the UK and its not a SADC initiative, so dont expect miracles from SADC. The SA Foreign Minister said before the meeting that Zimbabwe would have been different if UK hadnt got involved,......that shows the kind of out of date and hopeless SADC is

I dont think these guys have an iota of what is going on in Zimbabwe and how ruthless that guy is...the starting point is that there is no democracy in Zimbabwe, and its not a surprise that the communique that has been issued talks about sanctions lifting and that the opposition is on a war path........this has been Mugabe's propaganda all along....

My hope is that Mugabe gets psychiatric help and that he gets back his sanity and conscience and realise that he has destroyed the livelihood for everybody...this is not the age to be a dictator

Mugabe commands a lot of respect from the SADC leadership because he is the only founder leader of the organisation still around. But unfortunately it is this respect for him which has lost SADC reputation among the general populace of Zimbabwe.

Actually Peter, the other leader is still around is Angola's president, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos.

I guess then that SADC should be transformed or rather folded up because it is not doing anything meaningful both at the political and econonic levels.

Its just a talk shop for leaders to seek support from their fiends. I feel sorry for Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, he is the only one at least making some noise...but again it becomes difficult for an outsider to do anything what with ZANU (PF) overwhelming confirming Mugabe as their candidate.

We are headed for another rigging round...the only way is for the opposition to boycott and try to make the elections illegitimate and hopefully put pressure on the need to democratise the electoral institutions and processes... sad for Zimbabweans,...every other country in the region has changed and they have high hopes for the future

If properly used, SADC can be a good thing for the whole of southern Africa and therefore there is no need for it to be disbanded on just one issue - the Zim one. What is needed though is for common guiding principles or a charter to which all the nations must sign so that there is a standard in the region especially on issues like human rights. Also with Mwanawasa assuming chairmanship of the organisation later this year, expect better things from SADC.

You have a point Chris regarding Mwanawase getting the chairmanship but I cannot think of what he could have done differently this time had he been chairman.

I think Sadc goes more by consesus and if you are a lone voice you will not be heard at all. Whilst a chairman could be able to respond quickly to the crisis in Zim by holding an emergency meeting, after that he is powerless as long as all the other leaders think there isn't a big problem in Zim or that its just the opposition behaving badly.

I agree with you though that there is no need to disband the organisation because it can be a vehicle of progress in the future.

Where is your write up on the attempted coup which is a very TRUE story from the many sources including Herald?

I have read a few stories about the coup in the past few days but I actually don't know whether its true or not. I think we will have to wait and see the outcome of the case in court to find out the truth.

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