The Southern African Development Community says it will organize a summit to seek ways to help cash-strapped Zimbabwe raise money for elections expected sometime later this year.
President Robert Mugabe is qouted in the state-controlled Herald newspaper as saying regional leaders, meeting in summit on the sidelines of the just-ended African Union summit in Addis Ababa, agreed to coordinate efforts to raise money for Zimbabwe’s election.
Mr. Mugabe said he had personally appealed to his colleagues for assistance as
Zimbabwe is struggling to raise about $130 million for the election.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao confirmed that the regioal grouping will be assisting Zimbabwe but said he was on his way to Johannesburg, South Africa, and could not give more details.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti had approached regional power houses, South Africa and Anglola, for assistance. In response, Pretoria said SADC was better placed to handle the request.
Zimbabwe had earlier withdrawn an appeal to the United Nations for election assistance after President Mugabe’s Zanu-PF alleged the UN wanted to interfere with the country’s internal proceses by sending a fact-finding mission.
The UN insisted that sending a mission to a country requesting assistance was standard practice.
Political analyst Gideon Chitanga, a PHD candidate in politics at Rhodes University in South Africa, told VOA that SADC is likely to appeal to the same countries that the UN would have approached since it is also cash-strapped and largely depends on donor funds.
This is not the first time SADC has pledged to assist Zimbabwe. In 2009, regional leaders pledged to help Zimbabwe raise US$8.5 billion over three years to help revatilize its economy. But the regional bloc failed to deliver.