WASHINGTON DC —
The Southern African Development Community’s extraordinary summit to discuss Zimbabwe’s forthcoming election and other regional hot spots will now be held in Maputo, Mozambique on Saturday.
The summit was postponed last Sunday following a request by President Robert Mugabe for more time to prepare for the meeting since he was away in the far East. Other regional leaders had also indicated that they were unavailable.
In a media advisory note released Tuesday, the regional bloc said the extraordinary summit of Sadc Heads Of State and Government would discuss political developments in the region.
“The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government Extraordinary Summit on the political developments in the Region has been rescheduled to take place on June 15, 2013 in Maputo, Mozambique,” read part of the statement
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao confirmed to VOA that the summit is now set for Saturday, adding South African president Jacob Zuma, the SADC -appointed facilitator in Harare, will lead discussions on Zimbabwe.
The three parties in the government of national unity have also been stepping up their preparations for the summit. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai embarked on a diplomatic initiative last week to lobby regional leaders.
President Mugabe Wednesday chaired his party’s Politiburo meeting to discuss the party’s primary elections and the SADC summit. But party spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA that the party had failed to complete its agenda and would meet Thursady and "if need be we will continue until Friday".
Political analyst Trevor Maisiri of the International Crisis Group says SADC’s influence on Zimbabwe must not be downplayed.