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SADC Leaders to Review Political Situation in Zimbabwe, Region

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Political analysts say the summit explains why President Robert Mugabe has been calling for nationwide inter-party anti-violence campaign and reform of the police work ethic in election times

Blessing Zulu | Washington

The Southern African Development Community or SADC is set to hold an extraordinary summit next month to review the political situation in the region focusing on Zimbabwe, Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo, sources said.

Political commentators say the forthcoming summit explains why President Robert Mugabe has been calling for a concerted nationwide effort by all the political parties to end violence and reform of the police work ethic in election times.

They say that Mr. Mugabe wants something to show to convince regional leaders, weary of Zimbabwe's protracted political crisis that Harare has turned the corner and can organize fair elections. Mr. Mugabe says those elections should be held this year.

SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao says the dates of the summit will be set during the African Union summit starting January 21 through 28 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He said the region’s hotspots, including Zimbabwe are on the agenda, and regional leaders will seek way forward.

Spokeswoman Lindiwe Zulu for South African President Jacob Zuma and a member of the SADC facilitation team tasked with finding a lasting solution to the Zimbabwe crisis, told VOA's Blessing Zulu that her boss will table a comprehensive report at the summit.

Local civic groups led by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition will be lobbying the AU as well as SADC for reforms in Harare. Crisis Coalition Regional Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga said African leaders must not allow another sham election similar to the one held in 2008.

Elsewhere, police in Gweru on Wednesday raided the house of Mkoba legislator Amos Chibaya of the MDC wing led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in connection with the bombings last month of a ZANU-PF office in the Midlands capital.

Chibaya was absent when the raid took place, and police went on to arrest three people they found in his house. Sources said the three were being held at Gweru Central Police Station and were being denied access to their attorney, Reginald Chidavanyika.

Chibaya told the VOA that he had nothing to do with the bombing as he was out of Gweru when it took place.

Declaring his innocence, he said he would return to Gweru without fear, adding the bombings may be an inside job considering the factionalism currently shaking ZANU-PF.