Tsvangirai Not Invited to Southern Africa Development Community Summit

The 31st Ordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government opens tomorrow in Luanda, Angola, with leaders discussing a broad range of issues affecting the region.

Contrary to aspirations of the West, local and international non-governmental-organisations, sources close to the matter said yesterday there was no specific session on the agenda to discuss Zimbabwe.

The sources said the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation and Zambian President Rupiah Banda will present to the summit a report reviewing progress on all problematic areas in the region. The areas are Madagascar, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

Presidential spokesperson Mr George Charamba yesterday said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was not invited to the summit and it is understood he will attend the summit in his private capacity as a citizen of the Sadc region.

“Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was not invited by Sadc or the Angolan Government to the summit. He is going there precisely as an ordinary citizen of Sadc and he will only attend the official opening just like any other citizen of Sadc.

“Welshman Ncube is also going with his delegation and again he is not going to the summit as a leader of a party, but as an ordinary citizen of the regional bloc,” he said.

Mr Charamba said PM Tsvangirai and leaders of other political parties will not be eligible to attend other sessions of the summit.

The summit will begin with a report by the outgoing Sadc chairman, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia after which the incoming chair, President Jose Eduado dos Santos of Angola, will address the meeting.

According to sources, the summit will review the situation in the region bordering on such issues as economic development and Aids and food security.

“This is an ordinary summit and therefore the agenda is also ordinary. After reports by the outgoing and incoming chairpersons, there is going to be a review of the situation in the region using parameters such as food security and economic development and Aids.

“There is also going to be a discussion on the progress made on regional integration, where various sub sectors will also present their reports.

“The summit is going to have a look on the world financial crises focusing on how it has impacted on the region,” said the source.

It is understood that the Heads of State and Government will discuss election candidates for vacant positions at the African Union. AU positions are filled by persons seconded by regional blocs of the continent.

It is understood that there is going to be a meeting of liberation movements on the sidelines of the summit.

The meeting is coming hot on the heels of another one held in Windhoek, Namibia last week where it was resolved that another meeting should be held in Luanda.

Meanwhile, Sadc has rejected a request by NGOs pushing to be accorded state parties status at the summit.

By assuming that status, it meant the NGOs were going to attend the summit with full recognition as signatories to the Sadc Treaty.

“Sadc took a bold decision and rejected a request by some NGOs that were pushing to have state parties status. Sadc argued that the bloc is an inter-governmental organisation and NGOs have no business in it.

“It was resolved that in any case they (NGOs) should hold a separate forum away from the summit venue and whatever decision they resolved there would not have any significance to the summit.”

The private media has been awash with reports that Zimbabwe was going to be on the agenda, with President Jacob Zuma expected to deliver a report on the country.