SADC Must Show Greater Leadership on Zimbabwe | Freedom House

SADC Must Show Greater Leadership on Zimbabwe

Washington

Freedom House urges leaders of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) during their summit later this week to demonstrate strong commitment to free and fair elections in Zimbabwe by demanding that national elections in the country not be held until full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), including concrete steps to strengthen the mechanisms that monitor Zimbabwe’s compliance with the provisions outlined within the GPA.

During SADC’s August 17 summit in Maputo, Mozambique, heads of state are scheduled to discuss Zimbabwe’s progress in implementing the GPA, the SADC-negotiated compact that ended violence following disputed presidential elections in 2008. As guarantor of the GPA, SADC has been criticized for failing to ensure that the measures included within the agreement have been carried out. In May 2012, SADC issued a statement calling for implementation of the GPA before elections are held in Zimbabwe but fell short of outlining any consequences if elections were held without required reforms. Recently, the decision by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party not to endorse the newly drafted constitution has caused further alarm throughout the region that implementation of the GPA has stalled.

“Without significant reform, Zimbabwe has little hope for free and fair elections and is on a path to see a repeat of the electoral violence we saw in 2008,” said Jenai Cox, senior program officer for Africa at Freedom House. “As the guarantor of the GPA, SADC has a responsibility to the people of Zimbabwe to ensure that the GPA is fully implemented.”

Since violent elections in 2008, the power-sharing government of Zimbabwe has failed to make any significant progress on the provisions outlined within the GPA, including the adoption of a new constitution and media and electoral law reform. Moreover, a combination of political infighting between the parties and a lack of resources has left the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), the monitoring body responsible for ensuring the full and proper implementation of the GPA, largely ineffective in ensuring that the government abides by the agreement. Recent efforts by SADC to bolster JOMIC by sending delegates from Zambia and Tanzania to help the body have had little effect, as ZANU-PF and MDC continue to struggle for power in the lead-up to national elections, anticipated to take place next year.

Zimbabwe is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World, Freedom House’s annual global survey of political rights and civil liberties, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2012 and Partly Free in Freedom on the Net 2011.

For more information, visit:

Freedom in the World 2012: Zimbabwe

Freedom of the Press 2011: Zimbabwe

Freedom on the Net 2011: Zimbabwe

Blog: Zimbabwe after Mugabe: An Interview with Karl Beck

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Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.

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