- Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and opposition media are expressing their "shock at SADC's impotence in handling Mugabe's intransigence." They warn that the regional body is sowing seeds for a greater conflict, with heightening tensions between Botswana and President Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
Editor Wilf Mbanga of the UK-based weekly 'The Zimbabwean' - which is widely distributed in Zimbabwe - in a passionate editorial holds that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) "fails us yet again." He writes: "SADC is not serious and does not give a damn about the suffering of millions of Zimbabweans. Shame on them. Only six out of the 15 regional presidents attended Sunday's summit," which was to find a solution to the stranded efforts to implement a power-sharing agreement.
The agreement stranded as President Robert Mugabe unilaterally decided which ministries were to be controlled by his ruling ZANU-PF and which should go to Mr Tsvangirai's MDC party. The repartition would give ZANU-PF total control over both the military forces and police. SADC leaders tried to convince the parties sharing control over the Home Affairs Ministry, but effectively leaving Mr Mugabe in control of police, which was rejected by the MDC leader.
Mr Tsvangirai said the issue of sharing the ministry would not work and expressed shock at SADC's "impotence" in handling the crisis. He said his dispute with Mr Mugabe was not only about the Ministry of Home Affairs, but striking a fair balance of power of all ministries in the unity government and sharing diplomatic appointments and assigning key government posts.
Editor Mbanga said SADC leaders had failed to understand the issue. "The position taken by the new South African president, Kgalema Motlanthe, is particularly disappointing," he writes. "The people of Zimbabwe were prepared to give him a chance. But we should have seen the writing on the wall when we realised that he was the same guy who, back in 2002, headed the South African observer mission that pronounced that year's flagrantly flawed elections 'free and fair'."
According to 'The Zimbabwean', SADC is now sowing seeds of a regional conflict. Botswana, which has emerged one of the MDC's strongest supporters in the SADC negotiations, is increasingly being threatened by the Mugabe regime as the Zimbabwean leader gains the upper hand among SADC counterparts. "The situation is rapidly becoming explosive, with Mugabe accusing Botswana's President Ian Khama of training MDC militias to attack Zimbabwe. He has provided no shred of evidence that Botswana is doing this," the newspaper writes.
The paper adds that President Mugabe has made sure to arm the hunger-struck country to face - or at least scare - a potential external enemy. During the last years, Zimbabwe has bought large amounts of weapons from China. This included anti-tank bombs and other massive firepower "that is not required for crowd control but for full scale war," the opposition newspaper noted.
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