Foreign ministers of the Southern African Development Community
launched discussions on Thursday in Johannesburg amid
speculation the crisis in Zimbabwe will top the SADC summit agenda in the light
of recent political developments.
African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma addressed the ministers at the Sandton Convention Center, saying SADC is pleased with the
progress achieved to date in resolving the crisis. South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediator for SADC in the power-sharing talks between Zimbabwe's ruling party and opposition.
Political analyst Oliver Saasa told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that actions by President
Mugabe and his government suggest his long-ruling ZANU-PF party is not negotiating in good faith, which could spell trouble for the region and
lead to some divisions within the summit starting in earnest on Saturday.
Meanwhile, non-governmental organizations headed by the Congress of South African Trade Unions were organizing demonstrations
against the expected presence of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and King Mswati of Swaziland
at the summit, characterizing them as illegitimate rulers who have committed or ordered human rights abuses.
in Johannesburg said Zimbabwean NGO members were trickling into the city to join
their South African-based counterparts.
organizations expected to join the protests include the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. Trade
unionists from Swaziland are expected to turn out in force as well. Spokesman Patrick Craven of COSATU told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Saturday’s event is likely to
be more effective because international attention has been focused on the Zimbabwean
crisis since the country's March 29 elections.
Civil society organizations from Zimbabwe and South Africa
met Thursday in Johannesburg for a one-day policy colloquium examining what needs
to be done to manage transition in Zimbabwe amid expectations power-sharing
talks will result in a deal.
Correspondent Benedict Nhlapho had more from Johannesburg.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...