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405 words - May 6, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai carried out an "Africa diplomatic safari" within the framework of a "diplomatic offensive" which was "targeted at key leaders of four of the regional block that make up the Africa Union (AU)," that is to say the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the East African Community (EAC) and the Gabon-led Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Two of these organizations, the AU and the SADC, "are the political curators of the inclusive government and are major stakeholders whose mandate is to ensure that all legal and political processes are transparent and will lead to a free, fair and credible election in Zimbabwe."
According to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in September 2008, general elections will be held in Zimbabwe prior to 29 June 2013. President Robert Mugabe was confirmed as a presidential candidate by the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the ruling party since independence in 1980.
The ECOWAS, led by Côte d'Ivoire, assured Mr. Tsvangirai of its support in case the top leadership (Mr. Mugabe, ndlr) would refuse to vacate the seat of Presidency if it was to lose the elections to the other candidate who is Mr. Tsvangirai himself. Botswana President Seretse Khama and the Zimbabwean official agreed that the SADC will have to meet to adopt the roadmap for a free, fair and credible poll and agree on how the elections are going to be monitored. South African President Jacob Zuma held similar views saying the SADC and the AU should ensure that "the environment is conducive to the holding of a free and fair election." Tanzanian Jakaya Kikwete said he "wants Zimbabweans to exercise their unfettered right to choose a leader of their choice," and Nigerian counterpart Goodluck Jonathan said "it was necessary to ensure that the tragic drama of 2008 was not allowed to repeat itself."
This "safari" provided Mr. Tsvangirai with greater diplomatic visibility and with an opportunity to warn about "a plot to tamper with the voters' roll by disenfranchising some Zimbabweans (of which 70 percent are jobless) from voting." DiploNews considers that the upcoming elections in Zimbabwe brought little diplomatic attention so far despite what is a stake, namely the ability of a strong democratic African solidarity to emerge and to live up to its commitment.
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