South African President Jacob Zuma is set to host a meeting with his regional counterparts who make up the South African Development Community Troika, to discuss Zimbabwe’s looming elections. The meeting that will include the presidents of Mozambique, Tanzania and Namibia will take place in Pretoria on Saturday, according to Zuma’s international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu.
According to SW Radio Africa:
“The meeting comes amid reports that Zuma, as the SADC appointed facilitator in Zimbabwe’s political crisis, is ‘unhappy’ with the current situation in Zimbabwe. Zulu, whose phone again went unanswered on Friday, has been quoted as saying that Zuma and his facilitation team is ‘concerned because things on the ground (in Zimbabwe) are not looking good.’
“Saturday’s Troika meeting is expected to tackle some of the complaints Zulu has referred to. This includes the concerns raised by the [political party] MDC-T, which wrote to SADC urging it to meet and review the situation in Zimbabwe and whether it will result in a credible poll. MDC-T Secretary General Tendai Biti said during a press conference that his party has had no choice but to return to SADC because of ZANU PF’s [ Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front] ongoing refusal to implement the key changes that would ensure the July 31st poll is credible.
“Civil society groups and international human rights groups have also been pressuring SADC over Zimbabwe’s polls. Amnesty International last week also wrote to SADC, as well as to the Africa Union (AU) warning that the credibility of the July 31st poll is in doubt.”
African Union Intervention
In response to presures from groups within and outside of Africa, the African Union has issued a statement announcing that it will send election observers to Zimbabwe to observe the General Elections on July 31.
According to the statement from the AU, “The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Commission, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has approved the deployment of an African Union Short-Term Observation (STO) Mission to the Republic of Zimbabwe for the 31 July, 2013, General Elections. The AU STO Mission will be deployed on 21 July, 2013 ,and will complement the work of team of 9 AU Long-Term Observers who have been deployed to Zimbabwe since 15 June, 2013.
“The Mission will be led by H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and comprises of sixty (60) observers drawn from members of African electoral management bodies (EMBs), civil society organizations, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), the regional economic communities (RECs), human rights organizations and members of the Permanent Representatives’ Committee (PRC) of the African Union.
They will be supported by team of nine coordinating and technical team from Democracy and Electoral Assistance Unit, the Pan-African Parliament and the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa. “