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SADC summit outcome disappointing: civil groups

Published on 19/08/2011

Zimbabwean and Swaziland activists on Friday slammed the failure of a summit of regional leaders to act on political crises threatening their countries.

Civil society groups said the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit had ended in Angola on Thursday without announcing decisive action on the political battles besetting the countries.

“SADC has become an old boys club, an institution of heads of state. There was no subject of substance on the table for these leaders,” Swaziland pro-democracy activist Musa Hlophe told AFP.

The two-day regional leaders’ summit was expected to make pronouncements on the progress to implement Zimbabwe’s unity deal and a road map to new elections but instead reaffirmed a decision made in June urging faster reforms.

“SADC has to show that it has power to enforce its resolutions, so far there have been no decisive steps to ensure that,” said Phillip Pasirayi, the spokesman for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.

Under Zimbabwe’s unity accord, signed after 2008 presidential elections beset by violence, calls for a new constitution to be approved by referendum before new general elections and other reforms.

“We can’t have elections just for the sake of it. The emphasis on election must go with the need for reforms,” said Pasirayi.

The summit also failed to comment on recent unrest in Malawi, where anti-government protests killed 19 people last month, and in Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy.