Movement for Democratic Change leader Nelson Chamisa has hit a brick wall with the Secretary-General of the Southern African Development Community Stergomena Lawrence Tax saying the regional body recognises President Emmerson Mnangagwa as the country’s legitimate leader.
The MDC on Thursday said it had handed over a petition calling for the establishment of a national transitional authority to bring legitimacy to the country to the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda. The petition was copied to SADC, the African Union and Mnangagwa as leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.
The MDC has refused to recognise Mnangagwa as President despite failing to prove this before the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest court whose ruling cannot be challenged.
In an interview with the State-controlled Sunday Mail, Tax , who was in Zimbabwe for three days, said she had not yet received the petition but her organisation recognised Mnangagwa as Zimbabwe’s legitimate leader and he would be assuming the chairmanship of the region’s powerful Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation at the SADC summit which will be held in Tanzania in August.
“In terms of the petition, I have not received the petition. What should be recognised is that Zimbabwe is a sovereign country, Zimbabwe has a Constitution and Zimbabwe is guided by a number of legislation,” she told the Sunday Mail.
“Our advice is that let those be observed, elections took place, elections were contested, the Constitutional Court also judged. So all those were processes and instruments to ensure that there is democracy.
“You also have to understand that Zimbabwe is our Incoming Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.”
Tax said she met Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials during her visit to discuss matters that would require Mnangagwa’s attention when he takes over the chairmanship of the Organ.
“The intention is to make sure that we are doing this work together. We are looking at what are the areas that we are going to focus on and how we can work together with the Incoming Chair,” she said,
“We are in the process of identifying, so this is work in progress. Next year and the following year, when Zimbabwe assumes the Chairmanship, we are going to have a number of elections in the region and Zimbabwe is expected to lead the SADC Election Observer Mission.
“Again we are going to assume (operational command) of the Standby Force under the African Union. This is an area under peacekeeping and is very critical, so we have to make sure that in the event that we are called to intervene we are ready …
“The other area is that we need to be prepared and alert to counter terrorism and address cyber-crime. This is work in progress, the institutions are already there and we have to be alert as we move forward and focus on the Chairmanship of Zimbabwe. We have started early because we cannot wait until August 2019.”