Mugabe tests commitment to reforms before polls
AHEAD of Friday's summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Luanda, Angola, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is pulling out all the stops to lobby regional leaders on his plans to call for an early election, with or without the new constitution.
SADC has developed an elections road map, albeit one with disputed issues, to guide the country to credible, free and fair elections.
Mugabe is anxious to have the elections this year, while he is still fit to campaign, and wants to secure consensus and backing for his plans in Zimbabwe and regionally.
He told UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay that he wanted elections soon because the coalition government is dysfunctional. He claimed the drawn-out constitution-drafting process was being used by his rivals to delay the polls.
Mugabe this week intensified his bid to get regional leaders to back him in his plans. He dispatched a number of envoys in the SADC region to South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania - a powerful troika on politics, defence and security - as well as Namibia, Botswana and other countries to test their resolve to insist on the full implementation of the global political agreement and the elections road map before the polls.
Presient Jacob Zuma is SADC's chief facilitator and his team will be in Harare this week, ahead of the Luanda summit, for an update on Zimbabwe's security issues .