SADC to discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe on Friday
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Initially, the meeting was supposed to be an extraordinary summit for heads of state and government only.
Sources yesterday said the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, which is commonly known as the Troika, will review the political and security situation in Zimbabwe and Madagascar.
SADC will discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe at its meeting Friday in Angola with the stand-off over the timing of new elections expected to top the deliberations.
Foreign Affairs secretary Joey Bimha had denied Monday that Zimbabwe was on the agenda in Angola, telling The Herald newspaper: "In the customary SADC tradition, extraordinary summits are one item agenda and in this particular case regional integration is the agenda for SADC.
"If there are any other issues brought before the summit, there would be mere reports for noting by Heads of State and not agenda items for discussion. It is under these circumstances that the summit in Angola would be held."
This was despite President Robert Mugabe dispatching top aides, Vice President John Nkomo as well as Ministers Emmerson Mngangagwa and Sydney Sekeramayi to lobby regional leaders ahead of the meeting.
The Troika, which is chaired by South African President Jacob Zuma, comprises the leaders of Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa, and reports to full summit.
President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara will attend the Troika meeting in their capacities as GPA principals.
PM Tsvangirai and DPM Mutambara will, however, not attend the Sadc extraordinary summit for heads of state and government.
There are indications that Professor Welshman Ncube, the leader of the other MDC faction, could also attend the Troika meeting.
Zimbabwe is not on the agenda of the Sadc extraordinary summit, but as has been the norm since the Sadc-brokered GPA, the Troika will review the political situation here.
Similar Troika meetings were held on the sidelines of the Sadc-EAC-Comesa Tripartite Summit held in Sandton, South Africa, last June, and ahead of the 31st Ordinary Summit of Sadc heads of state and government in Angola in August last year.
Yesterday, DPM Mutambara confirmed receiving an invitation from Sadc secretary Dr Tomaz Salomao and will be attending the Troika meeting.
"We are travelling to Angola where there is a Troika meeting on Zimbabwe. I am leaving tomorrow (today)," DPM Mutambara said.
MDC-T negotiator in the inter-party talks Mr Elton Mangoma confirmed yesterday that PM Tsvangirai was heading for Angola.
"I can confirm that we have been invited by Sadc and the Prime Minister will attend," Mr Mangoma said.
He claimed that Zimbabwe was on the agenda of the summit, adding "everyone who thinks otherwise would be disappointed."
The last-minute change by Sadc coincided with the visit of Sadc facilitator President Jacob Zuma's backroom facilitation team led by Ms Lindiwe Zulu, which met negotiators in Harare on Monday.
The Luanda extraordinary summit will discuss the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan.
At the summit, leaders are expected to brainstorm on ways of enhancing economic co-operation among member states.
The plan outlines policies, strategies and priorities for achieving deeper regional integration and poverty eradication.
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