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Southern African Regional Summit Overlooks Zimbabwe Crisis

Nations of the Southern African Development Community are meeting in summit this week in Gaborone, Botswana, location of SADC headquarters, but the organization is very likely to do all it can to avoid tackling the Zimbabwe crisis, some analysts say.

Zimbabwe’s economic collapse, political paralysis and social dislocation could, though, command attention on the margins of the summit. The African Union’s special envoy to Harare, former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, is expected to show up to rally support for his effort to prompt talks between Harare and its opposition.

But the Zimbabwe crisis did not officially figure on the SADC agenda, dominated by the question of how Africa should be represented on the U.N. Security Council, trade, and regional integration, including a proposed common currency for the area.

Nor is Zimbabwe likely to come up officially during SADC forum, according to Herman Honekom, parliamentary liaison officer for the Africa Institute of South Africa.

Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Mr. Honekom about the SADC summit and ongoing developments in the crisis.

Some ordinary Zimbabweans feel optimism that Mr. Chissano might be able to bring Zimbabwe’s ruling party and its opposition together in a political dialogue.

Correspondent Safari Njema sampled public opinion in Harare and filed a report on the outlook at street level.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...