The Southern African Development Community (SADC) appears to have closed the door on calls for fresh elections in Zimbabwe after the regional bloc’s secretariat, as well as the African Union (AU) endorsed a project being spearheaded by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
As reported by NewsDay, the Zimbabwean government is supporting the multi-million-dollar Museum of African Liberation in Harare which is being implemented by the Institute of African Knowledge (INSTAK).
Last week, both SADC and the AU signalled that they will work with Mnangagwa’s government on the project.On 25 January, Mnangagwa’s special envoy, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, who is a former foreign affairs minister, was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to meet the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat. Mahamat said the AU Commission was eager to collaborate on the project.
Four days after meeting Mahamat, Mumbengegwi was at the SADC headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana, to discuss a similar memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the bloc’s executive secretary, Elias Magosi. An official report published on the SADC website after the meeting said:
Magosi highlighted that the project resonates with the region’s objectives, among others, the operationalisation of the mechanism to recognise and honour the founders of SADC for their contribution to the establishment of the organisation and the pursuit of regional integration.
In this regard, further engagements regarding the project and MoU, as well as follow-ups, will be conducted between SADC and INSTAK in collaboration with the Zimbabwean embassy in Botswana.
Collaboration of the project between SADC and Mnangagwa’s administration indicates the bloc has put the Zimbabwe election issue to bed despite the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM) saying the elections fell short of meeting regional standards.
Posting on X, journalist and Mnangagwa critic Hopewell Chin’ono said SADC has moved on from Zimbabwe’s “shambolic” elections. He wrote:
Well, SADC is engaged on Zanu PF regime things fellow compatriots. The executive secretary of SADC met with Mnangagwa’s envoy, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi to talk about, wait for it, the Liberation Museum being built in Harare.
Do you still believe the lies that SADC is coming to deal with the shambolic electoral issues?
According to results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), Mnangagwa secured 52.6% of the vote while his main challenger, Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa received 44.03% of the vote.
Chamisa rejected the election results and launched a diplomatic offensive in SADC countries while pushing for fresh polls.
However, Chamisa has since abandoned CCC after losing control of the party to former MDC youth activist Sengezo Tshabangu who has been enjoying the support of State institutions.
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