Seychelles backs SADC decision for the continuation of SADC-led mediation process in Madagascar
The Seychelles government has supported the decision of the SADC Extraordinary Summit meeting in Maputo, Mozambique, on the 15th June 2013 to endorsed the decision for the SADC mediators to continue to engage the Malagasy stakeholders, in order to resolve the current deadlock in the political process.
Secretary of State for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Barry Faure, participated in the Summit and reiterated the importance of maintaining the SADC-led mediation efforts and the willingness of Seychelles to continue to assist in the process.
The Extraordinary Summit was held under the chairmanship of the President of Mozambique, Armando Emilio Guebuza, and was called to consider the political and security situation in the DRC, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
On the issue of Madagascar, SADC’s main concern was the approval by the Special Electoral Court of Madagascar of three illegitimate candidates, namely President Andry Rajoelina, former President Didier Ratsiraka and former first lady Lalao Ravalomanana. To note that as per the Dar es Salaam Declaration, President Rajoelina has to honour the commitment of not standing for the Presidential elections; as for President Ratsiraka and Mrs Ravalomana they are in violation of the constitution and the electoral law of Madagascar. The Court’s decision has resulted in a deadlock in the electoral process, whereby, the printing of the ballot papers requires a decision on the final list of candidates.
Calls by SADC and the international community for the three candidates to withdraw their candidacy have fallen on deaf ears, thus plunging Madagascar into further crisis. SADC has urged the AU and the international community to exert more political pressure on the three candidates in order to ensure a peaceful conduct of elections and stability in Madagascar.
Looking at other issues on the agenda, the Summit took note of the political situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and new political developments in Zimbabwe. Whilst noting good progress in the deployment of the Intervention Brigade in the Eastern DRC, Summit reiterated the need for political dialogue and diplomatic engagements by all parties.
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa provided a report on the political situation in Zimbabwe in his role as the facilitator on the Zimbabwe Global Political Dialogue.
The latest developments included the following:
– The constitutional Court of Zimbabwe on 31st May 2013 ruled that the forthcoming harmonized elections should be held on or before 31st July 2013;
– On 13 June 2013 President Mugabe issued a proclamation fixing 31st July as the date of the harmonized presidential parliamentary and local government elections and fixing 28th June 2013 as the date for the sitting of the nomination court;
– President Mugabe invoked the Presidential powers act thereby bypass the current parliament in order to conform to the decision of the constitutional court.
The latest development has caused political dispute as it is considered fraught with legal contestation and heightened tensions even within the inclusive government. The Summit heard and reflected on reports from the members of the inclusive government. The meeting endorsed President Jacob Zuma’s recommendations addressing the conditions that had to be respected and attained before the elections are held in Zimbabwe, and, whilst being careful not to interfere with the sovereign laws of the member state and the independence of its courts, agreed on a position that will bring the parties together in order to minimize the tensions and carve out a roadmap that is realistic, that meets the concerns of the different parties and reassures the citizens of Zimbabwe. In particular, the Government of Zimbabwe agreed to make an intervention with the courts in order to make the necessary adjustments.
The Director General for Development and Regional Integration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kenneth Racombo, also participated in the SADC Extraordinary Summit.