Zuma in Malawi for SADC summit, non-committal on Zimbabwe

South African President Jacob Zuma, who arrived in Malawi in the afternoon of Friday, could not be drawn into commenting on the controversial and challenged elections in Zimbabwe which Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) chairperson Armando Guebuza has hinted that the Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit scheduled for Lilongwe this weekend will discuss the issue.

On Thursday, Zimbabwean human rights activists alongside Malawian civil society organisations (CSOs) piled pressure on Sadc leaders to include the current Zimbabwe crisis on the substantial agenda during their Lilongwe summit which is opening Friday.

Speaking to journalists on arrival at Kamuzu International Airport in the Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, Zuma said he expected a lot of issues but he could not tell if Zimbabwe was on agenda.

“I don’t know yet the issues to be discussed so I can’t say anything now. But am sure there are several issues to be discussed it’s not only Zimbabwe,” said Zuma.

President Banda welcomes Zuma
President Banda welcomes Zuma

The South African leader however noted that the summit is expected to be furnished with a report from the observer mission.

“South Africa was mandated by SADC to oversee that the elections are free and fair but there is a report to be presented by the SADC observer mission. So let me not pre-empt the report,” he said.

On arrival Thursday, Guebuza, who is the outgoing chairperson of the regional block, said Zimbabwe would be discussed at the summit.

However, earlier media reports indicated that  the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation said the Zimbabwe issue is not on the summit’s agenda.

President Robert Mugabe remains the longest serving head of state in the Southern Africa having been president for that country since its independence in 1981.

Another controversial issue involving Lake Malawi border dispute between Malawi and Tanzania is also said not to be among the prepared agenda for the Summit.

Zuma after inspecting a presidential guard of honour mounted by the Malawi Defence Force on his arrival
Zuma after inspecting a presidential guard of honour mounted by the Malawi Defence Force on his arrival

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