|Tsvangirai meets regional leaders ahead of SADC meeting
By Tichaona Sibanda
11 April 2008
President Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC has met almost all the leaders of the Southern African Development Community, ahead of Saturday’s urgent meeting of the regional bloc in Lusaka, Zambia. Thirteen days after Zimbabwe went to polls, there is still no official word on the outcome of the presidential election.
On Thursday evening Tsvangirai met with the South African president Thabo Mbeki to discuss the election crisis. Luke Tamborinyoka, the MDC’s director of information, told us from Johannesburg that the meeting went well but would not disclose details.
Tamborinyoka confirmed Tsvangirai would be attending Saturday’s meeting of southern African leaders, who last year tasked Mbeki with mediating talks between the MDC and Zanu PF. He also said that Tsvangirai has in the last 48 hours met with other regional leaders.
‘I can’t go into specifics or names now, but President Tsvangirai has been involved in shuttle diplomacy in the region to appraise the leaders of the situation back home,’ he said.
State media has said that Mugabe has decided not to attend the SADC meeting on Saturday, as it was convened without consulting him. The ruling party’s spokesman, Bright Matonga, has also said that SADC has no power to interfere in any other country’s internal affairs and Zimbabwe should be ‘left alone.’ But government is sending a team to the meeting.
It’s believed that Zanu PF have compiled a dossier containing Mugabe’s appeal for a vote recount and the alleged prejudice he suffered due to miscounting of votes. There is also a series of bound intelligence reports on the elections.
Tamborinyoka added; ‘He (Mugabe) has lost an election and should step down. He has also not followed SADC guidelines on elections by not announcing the results of the presidential vote. We don’t have to prove anything to SADC tomorrow and we don’t have anything to hide, so the best thing for Mugabe to do is step down and let the duly elected president be sworn in, otherwise he’s subverting the will of the people.’