IN the next few weeks, President Hage Geingob takes over as the Chairman of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This is a huge responsibility for our head of State as SADC is undergoing a wave of democratic transition, both in the political and economic landscapes.
Zimbabwe remains a regional political minefield. However, the departure of former President Robert Mugabe, who is loved and idolised by most of our SADC leaders, could make dealing with the Zimbabwe political situation a lot easier.
SADC, which has for years been lablelled toothless and partial in dealing with political disputes, now has to be seen to be a worthwhile body dedicated to ensuring peace and stability in southern Africa.
Zimbabwe has just held its elections to choose a President, members of parliament and local authority councillors. As we go to print the dust is yet to settle on this election as results are still trickling in three days after the poll.
Although the electoral process has been violence free as compared to previous polls in that country, it is crucial, not only for Zimbabwe but for the entire SADC, that the vote counting process is transparent and the results in Zimbabwe are credible. Failure to achieve this would throw the region into turmoil.
The onus will be on President Geingob as the incoming SADC leader to impress this fact upon the Zimbabwe leaders. Although traditionally Swapo is aligned to Zanu (PF) as former liberation movements, Geingob must be seen to be impartial in handling the Zimbabwe situation.
The fact that Zimbabwean voters came out in their millions to vote, shows that the people are tired of the prevailing situation in the country and have come out to express this through the ballot. For their will to be stolen will be a travesty to justice.
Namibia is a regional and African leader in ensuring that democratic practices are upheld. That the will of the people previals. This is an opportunity for Geingob to show this leadership by ensuring that Zimbabwe upholds the principles of democracy.
It is without a doubt that instability in Zimbabwe also means instability in the entire region. Zimbabwe’s neighbours, including Namibia, are already battling with the influx of Zimbabwean ‘economic refugees’. This could get worse if the outcome of Monday’s election is not handled well.
President Geingob should listen to the views of the various election observers in Zimbabwe, including our own SADC observers and those from outside Africa, and based on that, engage the political leaders of Zimbabwe. If, for instance, observers unanimously say that the results of the vote are not reflective of their own tallies from the polling stations, then surely he should take a stand against his Zanu (PF) comrades and impress upon them the need to respect the wishes of the people.
SADC has made tremendous reform strides. We cannot let these be tarnished by the Zimbabwe elections. The region needs to maintain peace and stability in order for it to fully embark on the struggle for economic independence by promoting industrialisation and growing the regional economy.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015