SADC leaders expected discuss Zim

Thursday, August 16, 2012
By: 
Chris Bathembu

Maputo - The political situation in Zimbabwe is likely to feature prominently during the two-day Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State Summit which kicks off in Maputo, Mozambique on Friday.

President Jacob Zuma, who is expected to arrive in that country later today, on Wednesday paid a visit to Zimbabwe in his capacity as SADC mediator in the Zimbabwe political situation.

The President was appointed SADC chief mediator on Zimbabwe in 2009, taking over from his predecessor, former President Thabo Mbeki. The Department of International Relations and Cooperation said this week it was satisfied with the progress made by Zimbabwean political players since they signed the watershed Global Political Agreement (GPA) in 2008.

Zimbabwe has finished drafting a new constitution that limits the powers of the president while strengthening those of parliament.

The draft reportedly imposes a limit of two five-year terms on the presidency. Some of the legislative reforms include the Human Rights Bill and Electoral Amendment Bill which were passed by the Assembly and passed to Senate for debate. This is seen as an important step to creating a political environment conducive for elections.

"We are confident that things are moving into the right direction and we appreciate the commitment that has been shown by the leaders of Zimbabwe to working together in this regard," Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim told SAnews this week.

He said South Africa would continue support the government of Zimbabwe as it prepared for the referendum and the eventual adoption of the new constitution.

Pretoria sees the new constitution as a noticeable progress in the GPA and said Zuma would remain siezed in the process to assist the party to fully implement the agreement as well as coming up with an election road map.

The SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, which met in Pretoria, last week, noted that Zimbabwe had made strides in implementing outstanding issues that form part of the GPA.