Connect with us
Advertisement

SADC fails again! No concrete solution for Zimbabwe

A meeting of some Ministers of Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC) member states who were in dire straits this week in Gaborone failed to draw a concrete explanation and resolution for Zimbabwe political crisis.

Zimbabwe military men at the behest of the country defence force commander General Constantine Chiwenga has put Commander in Chief and President Robert Mugabe under house arrest in lieu to sweet talk him to step down.  So far the generals have seized control of state media, airport and state house among others while calling for calm in the country emphasizing that there is “no coup” but “house arrest of the president”.

It is still unclear whether a compromise between the duos will see the light of the day but should it go pear-shaped there will be dire implications for Zimbabwe and her future.  If stay put Mugabe may charge the army high command for treason with a minimum sentence of 20 years behind the bars or if the military coup d’état becomes triumphant finding a replacement for Mugabe will be an arduous task as the party factional wars are at their time peak.

In the presumed coup d’état, the army men are seen to be serving the interest of the recently fired Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa whom they are strong indications that they want him to fill the shoes of the 93 year old Zimbabwean liberator turned autocrat – as a president. They say first lady Grace Mugabe is the root of all evils in ZANU PF particularly her recently repeated pronouncements and endevour to want to succeed her husband thereby with high risk of leading into a first political dynasty since the liberation of the country from the Boers in 1980.  

Fear is also in the air that if the coup is successful; the Military coups may also take the order of the day in upcoming years as they would be aware of the leverage they possess in relation to their political top politburo (president).  In light of the telling situation in the country (Zimbabwe), a meeting was called on Thursday by the SADC Organ Troika Council but Ministers present could ‘not bite more than they can chew’ instead recommending the complex political matter to an urgent Heads of State extra ordinary summit.

The said Ministerial meeting was consisting mostly ministers responsible for External Affairs in SADC Troika member states in the mold of its Chairperson who is also South Africa (SA) Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Zambia Harry Kalaba, Angola Minister of Defence Salviano De Jesus Sequeira (also chair of organ) and Tanzanian High Commissioner Sylvester Ambokile. 

The meeting delegation could not even make a pronouncement following inquiries from journalists on whether they see the current development in the country as a military coup or not and to also make a position on which direction they want Zimbabwe to take from the current hullabaloo. The meeting could only resolve that “having considered the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe, the Organ Troika recommended the convening of an urgent Extra Ordinary SADC Summit and committee to remain seized with the situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.”

According to SADC Troika Chairperson Nkoane-Mashabane, this is cognizant that the organ has really “noted” with “great concern” the unfolding situation at Zimbabwe. She said the meeting re-affirmed the SADC’s commitment to African Union (AU) constitutive Act and the SADC’s democratic principles, as they relate to the unconstitutional removal of democratically elected governments.

The SA minister of International Relations and Cooperation also stressed that the meeting also “reaffirmed the need for SADC member states to remain guided by their constitutions” and “called upon all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to settle the political challenges through peaceful means.” The meeting which was seen as unfruitful to the core some say it almost turned into a gathering of friends and counterparts enjoying biscuits and tea and, chatting about Zimbabwe while not necessarily coming up with tangible results that may change Zimbabwe crisis for good.

On the same token, SADC has also been seen as swiftly and trying hard to meddle in Zimbabwean affairs while they neglected the country when they were needed most in 2008 during the massive bloodshed of ordinary citizen and suspected rigging of elections by pro-Mugabe ZANU PF operatives masquerading as public servants of the Zimbabwean Independent Electoral Commission.

“Leave Zimbabwe to Zimbabweans to solve their problems, and there should be no interference by SADC,” an independent Zimbabwean MP Themba Mliswa who was present at the press conference in Gaborone told the press. The objective of the meeting as was called by incumbent SADC Chair who doubles as President of South Africa Jacob Zuma was to “consider the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.”

SADC is an organization of 16 member states established in 1980. The mission of SADC is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient, productive systems, deeper cooperation and integration, good governance and durable peace and security; so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy.

“How Mugabe cornered the Generals”

Meanwhile, according to a revered journalist at Southern News, Njabulo Ncube, Mugabe cornered the generals who were playing in his hands of steel. “Mugabe asked the generals on why they were saying he should step down and they cited the purges. It is said, since there was no coup, he also asked them to bring the country's constitution and they were cornered,” Ncube said.

He continued: “the Generals were then accused of meddling in party politics. Mugabe has power to fire, appoint and disappoint according to the country's Constitution. They were also asked on why and how they were choosing Emmerson Mnangagwa and not Joice Mujuru or Sydney Sekeramai. And he said if it were for the purges, then he would be ready to readmit Mujuru as she was first to be purged.”

In fact, the journalist said Mugabe accused them (army men) of being the ones causing instability.  “According to him, it showed him that the military were running a faction. He told the SA envoys that the purges were only in the party not government. He said he was surprised that the army talked of instability yet no one had gone in the streets to protest the purges He then told them that if there were any other constitutional reasons they could cite, then he could step down,” he said.

Following the house arrest or the so called military coup d’état, Mugabe reappeared in public on Friday officiating at Open University Graduation in the outskirts of Harare.  It is believed that ZANU-PF party is set to draft resolution to dismiss Mugabe this weekend before his impeachment motion next week.

Continue Reading

News

Veteran journalist Karima Brown succumbs to COVID-19

4th March 2021
Karima-Brown

South Africa’s veteran journalist and broadcaster, Karima Brown has died on Thursday morning from COVID-19 related complications.

Media reports from the neighbouring country say Brown had been hospitalized and on a ventilator.

Brown anchored eNCA’s The Fix and was a regular political analyst on the eNCA channel.

Continue Reading

News

Botswana imports in numbers

1st March 2021
Botswana-imports

For so many years, Botswana has been trying to be a self-sufficient country that is able to provide its citizens with locally produced food products. Through appropriate collaborations with parastatals such as CEDA, ISPAAD and LEA, government introduced initiatives such as the Horticulture Impact Accelerator Subsidy-IAS and other funding facilities to facilitate horticultural farmers to increase production levels.

Now that COVID-19 took over and disrupted the food value chain across all economies, Botswana government introduced these initiatives to reduce the import bill by enhancing local market and relieve horticultural farmers from loses or impacts associated with the pandemic.

In more concerted efforts to curb these food crises in the country, government extended the ploughing period for the Southern part of Botswana. The extension was due to the late start of rains in the Southern part of the country.

Last week the Ministry of Agriculture extended the ploughing period for the Northern part of the country, mainly because of rains recently experienced in the country. With these decisions taken urgently, government optimizes food security and reliance on local food production.

When pigs fly, Botswana will be able to produce food to feed its people. This is evident by the numbers released by Statistics Botswana on imports recorded in November 2020, on their International Merchandise Trade Statistics for the month under review.

The numbers say Botswana continues to import most of its food from neighbouring South Africa. Not only that, Batswana relies on South Africa to have something to smoke, to drink and even use as machinery.

According to data from Statistics Botswana, the country’s total imports amounted to P6.881 Million. Diamonds contributed to the total imports at 33%, which is equivalent to P2.3 Million. This was followed by food, beverages and tobacco, machinery and electrical equipment which stood at P912 Million and P790 Million respectively.

Most of these commodities were imported from The Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The Union supplied Botswana with imports valued at over P4.8 Million of Botswana’s imports for the month under review (November 2020). The top most imported commodity group from SACU region was food, beverages and tobacco, with a contribution of P864 Million, which is likely to be around 18.1% of the total imports from the region.

Diamonds and fuel, according to these statistics, contributed 16.0%, or P766 Million and 13.5% or P645 Million respectively. Botswana also showed a strong and desperate reliance on neighbouring South Africa for important commodities. Even though the borders between the two countries in order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus, government took a decision to open border gates for essential services which included the transportation of commodities such as food.

Imports from South Africa recorded in November 2020 stood at P4.615 Million, which accounted for 67.1% of total imports during the month under review. Still from that country, Botswana bought food, beverages and tobacco worth P844 Million (18.3%), diamonds, machinery and fuel worth P758 Million, P601 Million and P562 Million respectively.

Botswana also imported chemicals and rubber products that made a contribution of 11.7% (P542.2 Million) to total imports from South Africa during the month under review, (November 2020).

The European Union also came to Botswana’s rescue in the previous year. Botswana received imports worth P698.3 Million from the EU, accounting for 10.1% of the total imports during the same month. The major group commodity imported from the EU was diamonds, accounting for 86.9% (P606.6 Million), of imports from the Union. Belgium was the major source of imports from the EU, at 8.9% (P609.1 Million) of total imports during the period under review.

Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Economic Development Thapelo Matsheka says an improvement in exports and commodity prices will drive growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Growth in the region is anticipated to recover modestly to 3.2% in 2021. Matsheka said this when delivering the Annual Budget Speech virtually in Gaborone on the 1st of February 2021.

He said implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), which became operational in January 2021, could reduce the region’s vulnerability to global disruptions, as well as deepen trade and economic integration.

“This could also help boost competition and productivity. Successful implementation of AfCFTA will, of necessity, require Member States to eliminate both tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and generally make it easier to do business and invest across borders.”

Matsheka, who is also a Member of Parliament for Lobatse, an ailing town which houses the struggling biggest meat processing company in the country- Botswana Meat Commission, (BMC), said the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) recognizes the need to prioritize the key processes required for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

“The revised SACU Tariff Offer, which comprises 5,988 product lines with agreed Rules of Origin, representing 77% of the SACU Tariff Book, was submitted to the African Union Commission (AUC) in November 2020. The government is in the process of evaluating the tariff offers of other AfCFTA members prior to ratification, following which Botswana’s participation in AfCFTA will come to effect.”

Continue Reading

News

Sheila Tlou: On why women don’t get votes

1st March 2021
Sheila Tlou

BARAPEDI KEDIKILWE

Women continue to shadow men in politics – stereotypes such as ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ cast the notion that women cannot lead. The 2019 general election recorded one of Botswana’s worst performances when it comes to women participation in parliamentary democracy with only three women elected to parliament.

Botswana’s former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Tlou who is currently the Co-Chair, Global HIV Prevention Coalition & Nursing Now and an HIV, Gender & Human Rights Activist is not amused by the status quo. Tlou attributes this dilemma facing women to a number of factors, which she is convinced influence the voting patterns of Batswana when it comes to women politicians.

Professor Tlou plugs the party level voting systems as the first hindrance that blocks women from ascending to power. According to the former Minister of Health, there is inadequate amount of professionalism due to corrupt internal party structures affecting the voters roll and ultimately leading to voter apathy for those who end up struck off the voters rolls under dubious circumstances.

Tlou also stated that women’s campaigns are often clean; whilst men put to play the ‘politics is dirty metaphor using financial muscle to buy voters into voting for them without taking into consideration their abilities and credibility. The biggest hurdle according to Tlou is the fallacy that ‘Women cannot lead’, which is also perpetuated by other women who discourage people from voting for women.

There are numerous factors put on the table when scrutinizing a woman, she can be either too old, or too young, or her marital status can be used against her. An unmarried woman is labelled as a failure and questioned on how she intends on being a leader when she failed to have a home. The list is endless including slut shaming women who have either been through a divorce or on to their second marriages, Tlou observed.

The only way that voters can be emancipated from this mentality according to Tlou is through a robust voter education campaign tailor made to run continuously and not be left to the eve of elections as it is usually done. She further stated that the current crop of women in parliament must show case their abilities and magnify them – this will help make it clear that they too are worthy of votes.

And to women intending to run for office, Tlou encouraged them not to wait for the eleventh hour to show their interest and rather start in community mobilisation projects as early as possible so that the constituents can get to know them and their abilities prior to the election date.

Youthful Botswana National Front (BNF) leader and feminist, Resego Kgosidintsi blames women’s mentality towards one another which emanates from the fact that women have been socialised from a tender age that they cannot be leaders hence they find it difficult to vote for each other.

Kgosidintsi further states that, “Women do not have enough economic resources to stage effective campaigns. They are deemed as the natural care givers and would rather divert their funds towards raising children and building homes over buying campaign materials.”

Meanwhile, Vice President of the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Wynter Mmolotsi agrees that women’s participation in politics in Botswana remains a challenge. To address this Mmolotsi suggested that there should be constituencies reserved for women candidates only so that the outcome regardless of the party should deliver a woman Member of Parliament.

Mmolotsi further suggested that Botswana should ditch the First Past the Post system of election and opt for the proportional representation where contesting parties will dutifully list able women as their representatives in parliament.

On why women do not get elected, Mmolotsi explained that he had heard first hand from voters that they are reluctant to vote for women since they have limited access to them once they have won; unlike their male counterparts who have proven to be available night or day.

The pre-historic awarding of gender roles relegating women to be pregnant and barefoot at home and the man to be out there fending for the family has disadvantaged women in political and other professional careers.

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!