Following a meeting in South Africa, the group of Elders voiced their great concern on Monday at the slow pace of implementation of the Global Political Agreement for Zimbabwean power sharing more than a year after the formation of the chronically troubled national unity government in Harare.
Struggle icon and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu said the Elders were disappointed that the Harare political accord underpinning a government including President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has not relieved the country's impoverished masses.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called Zimbabwe a "tragedy still waiting to be resolved." Mr. Carter welcomed recent calls from two of the three parties to the unity government for elections to resolve the current impasse. But he said a number of measures remain to be taken to ensure such an election will be a successful one.
The Elders also said they did not take lightly rumors and threats circulating in South Africa as to a new wave of attacks against immigrants when World Cup of soccer concludes in mid-July.
Formed in 2007, the Elders comprises former heads of state, Nobel Peace Prize recipients and prominent defenders of human rights who seek to support peace-building and reduce human suffering through moral suasion.
Elsewhere in the region, the Southern African Development Community's Namibia-based tribunal will consider an application by a group of Zimbabwean white commercial farmers who are asking it to tell SADC to suspend Zimbabwe for ignoring tribunal rulings holding that Harare’s seizure of white-owned farms was discriminatory and illegal.
The application comes amid further farm takeovers around Zimbabwe. Christopher Jarret, chairman of the Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance, told VOA that James Taylor and his son were arrested Friday for refusing to leave their farm in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland North province. The two were released Monday, sources said.
The applicants want the tribunal to ask SADC to convene a special summit to discuss farm seizures. They want Zimbabwe suspended from the bloc for what the group charges have been “prosecutions, imprisonment and other measures of intimidation which serve to destroy the lives of farmers.”
Applicant Ben Freeth of the SADC Tribunal Rights Watch civic group told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that he and his co-applicants hope the tribunal will move the question to the level of SADC heads of state.