Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has launched a major diplomatic offensive ahead of a summit on Friday of the Southern African Development Community that will focus on the situation in his country and prospective new elections, sources said Monday.
State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi met on Saturday with Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, a member of the SADC troika on politics, defense and security which in an April session in Livingstone, Zambia, admonished Mr. Mugabe to curtail political violence and urged him to institute democratic reform at top speed.
Sekeramayi told journalists he briefed Mr. Guebuza on the political situation in Zimbabwe which he characterized in those discussions as peaceful.
Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangangwa was in Luanda, Angola, where he met with Vice President Fernando da Piedade Dias dos Santos.
Vice President John Nkomo met with the President of Botswana, Ian Khama, one of Mr. Mugabe’s fiercest high-level critics in the region.
All the envoys delivered the same message: that Zimbabwe is enjoying relative peace despite persistent reports of political violence.
Observers said Mr. Mugabe hopes to prevent SADC from echoing the findings and recommendations of the SADC troika’s tough communiqué last month.
Negotiator Moses Mzila Ndlovu of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said he expects SADC to keep pressure on Mr. Mugabe, whose ZANU-PF politburo last week called for elections this year.
SADC officials including South African President Jacob Zuma, mediator in Harare for the regional grouping, have strongly recommended putting off presidential, general and local elections until 2012 at least so that much-needed reforms may be put in place.
Commenting, political analyst Effie Dlela Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that ZANU-PF through its regional diplomatic offensive seeks to divide SADC leaders - but added he does not believe it will succeed in doing so.