Zambia Convenes Regional Summit on Zimbabwe Elections
President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia recently called an extraordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to discuss security issues facing the region. One key topic on the agenda was Zimbabwe’s disputed national elections last month.
The summit, held virtually, brought together leaders from Zambia, Namibia, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They received updates on security challenges in eastern DRC as well as the ongoing SADC mission there helping to stabilize the situation.
When it came to Zimbabwe, tensions have been high since the election commission declared incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner over main opposition candidate Nelson Chamisa. Chamisa’s party has rejected the results, claiming electoral irregularities. As the neighbouring country, Zambia wants to see a peaceful resolution.
The leaders also examined a report by SADC’s electoral observation mission criticizing how Zimbabwe’s polls fell short of constitutional and international voting standards. This report had faced backlash from some within Zimbabwe’s ruling party.
President Hichilema and Zambia have taken a leading role in nudging dialogue to resolve post-election conflicts and ensure stability in the region. With democratic principles and human rights at stake, as well as the potential for violence, addressing Zimbabwe’s political crisis will certainly continue to be a priority debated within SADC in the weeks and months ahead.