SADC Meeting Leaves Zimbabwe Crisis Off African Union Summit Agenda
SADC failed to address the current Zimbabwe crisis and instead welcomed President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the four-day summit.
The Southern African Development Community recently held a four-day consortium to consider agenda items for the forthcoming African Union summit and the current Zimbabwe crisis does not feature on the agenda. President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who chairs the troika (which is responsible for promoting peace and security in the SADC region) was in attendance. This comes days after President Cyril Ramaphosa sent an envoy with parliamentary speaker Baleka Mbete to meet with Mnangagwa amid violent political demonstrations and mass arrests.
"The envoys brought in their message, which was duly delivered to the host president. In return they received a briefing from President Mnangagwa. The reciprocal messages are the property of the respecting leaders and it is their prerogative as to how they can be handled or disseminated," Zimbabwe's Information Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, stated before Zimbabwe attended the SADC meeting on Friday, August 13th.
During the SADC meeting, President Mnangagwa reportedly stated that "there is no crisis" and that news outlets had been inflating ongoing political unrest.
Political unrest in Zimbabwe has been ongoing following the arrest of investigative journalist Hopewell Chin'ono who exposed the Zanu-PF led government's coronavirus corruption scandal. Zimbabwean activists wrote a public letter to the African Union earlier in the year condemning the arrest. Citizens planned for mass protests to take place at the end of July against government's violation of human rights and silencing of journalists but police forces disrupted the mass gatherings culminating in multiple arrests including that of Booker Prize Nominee Tsitsi Dangarembga.
As a result, Zimbabwean Lives Matter has been trending on Twitter, the African Diaspora in both America and the UK have been involved in raising the alarm which has led to calls for the African Union to intervene.
While President Ramaphosa, chair of the African Union, sent a South African envoy to Zimbabwe, other political players such as the MDC were excluded from meeting with the delgeation. The MDC Alliance accused Mnangagwa of preventing the envoys from hearing from them in a recent statement. Mnangagwa also reportedly called the Zimbabwe crisis "driven by falsehoods". Further details of the meeting were not publicly released.
Mnangagwa is expected to hand over the chairmanship of troika to Botswana's President Mokgweetsi Masisi as the consortium comes to an end today.
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