Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Mugabe threatens to pull out of SADC
By Dumisani Sibanda and Moses Matenga
Sun 07 July 2013, 14:01 CAT

President Robert Mugabe has threatened to pull out of the Southern African Development Community due to what he described as "stupid things" being done by "idiotic" people within the regional bloc.

SADC are the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) brokered in 2008 following the disputed presidential run-off leading to the formation of the country's coalition government.

Addressing party supporters at the launch of the Zanu PF election manifesto in Harare, President Mugabe, in apparent reference to the spokesperson for the SADC-appointed facilitation team Lindiwe Zulu, said a "street woman" from South Africa had tried to block the holding of polls by end of July.

"SADC has no power. Let it be known that we are in SADC voluntarily. If SADC decides to do stupid things, we can pull out. For now we have a SADC that has good sense. Although from some quotas there was a stupid, idiotic woman saying elections cannot be held by July 31. Did such person ever think as an independent country we would take such utterances which were stupid and idiotic?"

The Constitutional Court last Thursday upheld the July 31 poll date, quashing moves by SADC to seek an extension.

President Mugabe's attack on Zulu and threats to pull out of SADC follow a series of meetings where regional leaders have taken a tough stance against the veteran leader.

Zulu has been consistent in outlining SADC position on Zimbabwe regarding elections, saying that the regional bloc was for a free, fair and credible election that could only be possible if reforms were implemented.

In an interview, Zulu said the facilitation team did not seek to interfere with the Zimbabwean court processes, but they were only worried with the reforms and the country's ability to hold a free and fair election.

"We will look at the reaction of the parties. What is important for the facilitation team and SADC is what the conditions are. Are the institutions ready to deliver credible, free and fair elections in Zimbabwe? We are to report to the facilitator not only on the date, but on what I have also mentioned," said Zulu.

"The reason why SADC had asked for an extension of elections was on the preparations. We don't want to be seen to be interfering in the legal processes, but what will happen is, we will hear from the interested parties."

President Mugabe (right) also took a swipe at United States President Barack Obama for supporting same-sex marriages saying "as a black man, it was surprising that he was for homosexuality".

President Mugabe attacked Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC-T leader for his links with multiple women, saying that he "could not be trusted with running the country".

He said Zanu-PF was embarrassed in 2008 and had chosen to launch this year's manifesto in Highfield as it was a "sacred place".

"Highfield is a politically sacred place, but now l cry, 'Highfield, Highfield, Highfield, where are you?'," President Mugabe said.

President Mugabe said his supporters must desist from the "Bhora Musango" (protest vote against the party) syndrome that haunted the party in 2008 and said the focus this time should be on ensuring the President (Mugabe) was voted for.

He also hinted at the possibility of amending the Constitution and pleaded with party supporters to ensure the party won the majority of parliamentary seats to make it easy for the party to effect necessary amendments.

President Mugabe said the government was carefully looking at the possibility of re-introducing the Zimbabwean dollar as the United States currency, while it was important for stabilising inflation, was inaccessible to many.

He said it was important for Zanu-PF to resoundingly win to enable it to form a government on its own rather than have a coalition as happened in 2008 when his party "made a mistake".


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