Zimbabwe to pull-out of SADC?

By Nqobile Charles Bhebhe

Posted on June 1, 2011 12:34

A Zimbabwe cabinet minister has claimed that President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party plans to drag the country out of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at an extraordinary summit in South Africa.

The June 11 summit is scheduled to discuss Zimbabwe’s ongoing political crisis among other regional issues.

In an interview with Theafricareport.com, Moses Mzila Ndlovu, co-minister in the Organ of National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, and an MP with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faction loyal to Welshman Ncube, said he believed Zanu PF would use the summit to pull Zimbabwe out of the regional body.

“Senior Zanu PF insiders have confided in us that they are now fed up with SADC hence the planned pull out,” said Ndlovu.

Ndlovu, one of the negotiators in the political stalemate, said the plot claims have been taken seriously.

He was arrested and detained for a week in April over allegations he addressed a meeting that had not been sanctioned by police.

Security sector reforms are a key demand of the MDC. But President Robert Mugabe’s party has been irritated by SADC demands for sweeping reforms in the army, police and secret services ahead of possible elections in 2011.

Mugabe has a firm grip on the military, which was implicated in the country’s 2008 election violence.

In December 2003 Mugabe pulled the country out of the Commonwealth in protest against Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Commonwealth council.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, has denied any pull-out plans.

“That’s mischievous talk. We are attending the summit in South Africa to finalise with the Road Map to free and fair elections,” he said.

Mugabe and long-time rival, prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai who leads a separate MDC faction, formed a power-sharing government two years ago to avoid a descent into full-fledged conflict in the aftermath of a bloody presidential run-off election.

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