SADC heads do not recognize Madagascar referendum
The Botswana Gazette
The Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the South African Development Community(SADC) held in Gaborone Saturday, on the margins of the official opening of the SADC headquarters have resolved not to recognize the constitutional referendum which is being held in Madagascar to resolve the existing political standoff.
It also emerged South African President Jacob Zuma could not hold formal talks with conflicting parties in Zimbabwe’s political crises because Zambian President Rupiah Banda, who chairs the Troika Organ, had inexplicably failed to attend the Summit attended by 6 SADC heads of state.
Banda was reportedly expected to arrive first amongst the SADC heads of state from Brazil but proceeded to Zambia and is yet to explain formally to the SADC secretariat what caused the last minute change in his schedule. Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai did not attend the closed session talks for SADC heads of state nor did coalition partner Arthur Matumbara who also attended summit.
“If the referendum is held within the framework of the agreements reached at Maputo and Addis Abba between stakeholders there would be no problem. The problem is that the government of Andry Rajoelina has prepared to run the show unilaterally,” said the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Executive Secretary, Dr Tomáz Augusto Salomão.
He said, “The agreement had been for an independent body to run such as exercise. We do not recognize the referendum and the SADC mediator told them so on the 31st October 2010.”
The coup leader Andry Rajoelina formally installed as Madagascar's President on the 21st Mar 2009 is presenting voters with a new constitution that could see him in power indefinitely and Extra-ordinary Summit noted that the situation in Madagascar ‘remains fragile and unresolved.’
Despite all the mediation attempts which have been undertaken by SADC, agreements reached have allegedly been dishonored and violated on a number of occasions, notably by the High Transitional Authority(HTA).
The Extra ordinary summit has therefore called for the speedy establishment of a mediation office in Madagascar in order to support the dialogue process in the country.
It was also noted whilst there was progress in Zimbabwe in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement(GPA) reached between ZANU-PF, MDC-T and MDC-Mutambara in 2009, outstanding issues remain to be resolved and urged the parties to expedite finalization of such issues.
“The point is the SADC mediator and his team has to consult further with parties to see if they are in agreement with lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe,” revealed Salomão.
South African President Jacob Zuma is expected to visit Zimbabwe next week to discuss further sticky points in the Global Political Agreement, in the hope of breaking down existing political impasse. A meeting of the Troika would then be convened as a matter of urgency.
SADC Heads of State also reiterated their belief in the idea of gradual continental integration taking place over time with the strengthening of economic regional commission's first.
“Let us not build the house from the roof but build the foundation first,” said Salomão.
SADC member states also reiterated their belief SADC is a viable building block for the ultimate achievement of African integration.
“The construction of the SADC Headquarters is yet another practical step to strengthen our regional economic community as one of the building blocks for continental integration. I believe that as a region, we should continue to take additional steps towards that noble objective, namely continental integration,” said SADC Chairperson and President of Namibia Hifikepunye Pohamba.
He said, “Ten years ago, the AU unanimously adopted a resolution that called for member states to hoist the AU flag alongside their national flags at all public buildings and to sing the AU anthem together with their national anthems at all official functions. I am happy to say that Nambia has complied with this resolution since its adoption. I would therefore like to humbly request your excellencies that all SADC member states should also do the same.”