SADC executive secretary Stergomena Tax torched a storm over the weekend after making reference to a story that irked the MDC and left many questioning her impartiality in trying to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis.

Tax posted on Twitter quoting an opinion piece in the State media that seemed to attack opposition leader Nelson Chamisa on his stance regarding dialogue with President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a comment that drew the attention of MDC secretary for international relations, Gladys Hlatywayo, who expressed her concern on the matter.

“The story that you quote is so disdainful of MDC,” Hlatywayo wrote to Tax.

“(I am) not surprised that a paper that is supposed to reflect the diversity of society, given that it is public media, chooses to be a Zanu PF extension. I am concerned that you seem not to find fault with such reporting Your Excellency.”

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In her response, which apparently angered most people, Tax said: “Presentation may seem unpleasant, but my appeal is all to support national and regional efforts that are aimed at enhancing peace, stability and prosperity and that enhanced people’s welfare, including on-going reforms. Reforms require among others, stakeholders engagement and resources.”

One reader hit back at Tax, saying: “You are not informed about the happenings in Zimbabwe. Harare is not instituting any reforms. Instead, the regime is even banning the launch of books.”

This was in reference to a violent disruption of the launch of exiled former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo’s book Excelgate at Sapes Trust in Harare last week.
The book exposes how elections were allegedly rigged in favour of Mnangagwa last year.

Others took time to remind Tax of the challenges Zimbabwe is facing and tried to convince her that there were no reforms to talk about, citing the closure of democratic space for the opposition and the police attacks on civilians, among others.

Others accused Sadc of protecting the elite while leaving the ordinary people at the mercy of those with State power.

The article that Tax was quoting heavily criticised Chamisa’s attitude against joining the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) platform, saying the MDC leader must remove the “special one tag” and join others.

“This has generally gone on very well, except for MDC Alliance leaders who have sought to project themselves as special and above everyone else,” the article quoted by Tax read in part.

“They have been making unreasonable demands for no valid reason. When people take entrenched positions, they become blind to the fact that some of those positions are not sustainable.

“The position taken by MDC Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa of disputing the 2018 presidential election results in which he lost to President Mnangagwa is extreme and untenable. He desperately needs to climb down and face the truth that the 2018 elections are history. He just needs to take off the ‘special one’ jacket and show respect to other political leaders — big and small.”

Chamisa maintained in an interview with NewsDay that he would never join Polad, saying what Zimbabwe needs now was genuine dialogue and not involvement of those meant to spoil the process.

“That is a sideshow. We don’t want a political rally, we need a political dialogue. We don’t want sideshows to settle some other secondary or primary scores,” Chamisa said.