Monday, 2 January 2017

Southern Africa confronted by a host of challenges

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Centering on the challenges faced by SADC in the twenty-first Century

From the conception of Southern African Development Community in 1992, the sub-regional grouping has had its fair share of successes. There were however numerous challenges that continue to dog it in the twenty-first century. It is the argument of this paper that after putting the gains and losses on the scale, challenges that confront the sub-region outweigh the gains attained thus far. This write-up centers on the challenges faced by SADC today, and these include but are not limited to overlapping membership, unrealistic goals set to achieve regional integration, complications caused rules of origin, different levels of development within the SADC member states, duplication of activities between SADC and Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the failure by SADC tribunal to show impartiality in dealing with issues involving injustice and blatant violations of human rights. Failure by the sub-regional arbitration body to provide recourse to justice and act as a unifying platform for member states has presented a strong case for mistrust between countries in the region.

Overlapping membership by some member states presents a hosts of challenges to individual countries . For instance, it comes with costs as countries have to negotiate in a number of forums and then implement a range of policies which may be conflictual in nature. Some members of SADC have membership in either COMESA or SACU. There is an economic partnership agreement (EPA) that was signed recently between SADC EPA and European Union, this arrangement is divisive in nature - the SADC EPA group which has six of the fifteen SADC countries include Botswana , Lesotho , Namibia, Mozambique, South Africa and Swaziland; of these five members form SACU while others are not. This means that non-SACU member states will have to negotiate trade with other SADC in their individual states.

In the SADC regional protocol signed by the majority of members in 2000, the countries sought to liberalise 85% of trade within the bloc by 2008, the percentage was scheduled to be increased to 100% in the next four years, form a customs union by the year 2010. All these targets were missed by a wider margin. Moreover, the failure to establish a common market and a monetary union by the stipulated time frame is indicative of the challenges of attaining in meeting unrealistic goals set by SADC for itself - it is over-ambitious.

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Monday, 9 May 2011


Twelve people have been reported dead ,in bloody clashes in Cairo over the conversion of a christian woman to Islam.This incident happening during the transitional government,by the military Generals,is a sheer case of religious intolerace where the care-taker government is expected to deal with religious exremism without risking a rekindled spate of violence from Islamic fundamentalists.

Over 500 conservative Islamists known as Salafists are reported to have gathered outside the Saint Mary's church in Cairo,surbub of Imbaba on the 7th of May,2011, with the intention to incite violence.Other muslim groups joined the bandwagon and violent clashes erupted where stones,firebombs and guns were used.

Unlike Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilisation where the wrong were pitied against the right,this was a case between the right and the right.The complexity of the case presents great challenges to the Generals running the country and these challenges would be confounded by the way they deal with the 190 people arrested during the clashes.The decision to send the culprits to Supreme Military Court seems weird though some will argue that it will serve the best interest of the politically volatile state by ensuring a non-recurrence of similar experiences.Whether or not the measures will prevent recurrence is a matter of speculation.This latest incident was described as Egypt's worst since people died in violent clashes of March 9 sparked by a church burning.

In a similar incident,another nearby church was reportedly set on fire and badly damaged in clashes that occured in the night of Imbaba incident.Whether or not similar incident will happen in future will partly depend on how the Military General would handle the case of those arrested during the clashes.The risk is great,that the government of the day will fall into the same predicament that befell its predecessors,in which their early exit would be guaranteed.

However,these Military Generals have tasted power and will possibly not subscribe to the same script that was written for the former President of Egypt,Hosni Mubaraki, and would therefore fiercely resist the demands of the people.Another dark cloud is hoovering hwackishly over the country,urgent political reforms should be made as a matter of priority before the situation degenerates into an orgy of violence.

Should the President of the United States,Barak Obama,decides to intervene in Egypt,in whatever way, this writer is cock sure that he will sympathise with christians.That action would be conceived,by the Muslim community,to mean an assault on their religious values and to which their defence is assured.

The fluidity of the case before the Military Generals running the country makes it a litmus test for them and whether or not they will remain in charge till the next general election will depend on their administrative skills and their ability to deal with the people arrested during Saturday clashes.

Friday, 6 May 2011


It is quite interesting that Alassane Ouattara declared winner in the November 2010 election had to wait close to five months before assuming the reigns of power in Ivory Coast.This article will not labour on how he got into power but will analyse the greatest tasks that lie ahead of him from which his leadership will be judged.

Like what happened in Libya,the United Nations Secretary Genaral,Ban Ki Moon passed a resolution that gave the combined international force the authority to attack Gbagbo's military arsenals if they were being used on civilians or the UN personnel.Determining whether or not the weapons were used on the specified sections of people lay entirely in the hands of the combined forces and so was the interpretation of the resolution.Any that is not the scope of this paper.

Now,Outtara the internationally recognised Ivorian President, came to power by the gun and with the massive support of foreign forces.The man was already perceived by some as a foreign candidate,viewed as a stranger.His background as an economist within the International Monetary Fund (IMF) puts him closer to the west and butresses the reason behind the military support he received.

Ouattara will find the going difficult in forging a union or propose national reconciliation to the two opposing camps,one led by himself and the other led by Gbagbo.Antoine Glaser,former editor of the French magazine described Ouattara predicament as,"catastrophic".His ability to reconstruct an Ivory Coast that is politically and economically stable will depend in part on how he will handle the issue of his predecessor.

Meanwhile,the International Criminal Court is poised to investgate Gbagbo over the alleged war crimes committed during the conflict-accused of his silence while his charges were raping innocent civilians, massacres and the deliberate targeting of civilians during the post-election stand off in which at least 400 people were killed.It would naive to suggest that Ouattara's forces did not commit similar offences and therefore much will depend on how he will deal with that issue without running the risk of rekindling the conflict.

Robert Besseling of the Executive Analysis has warned:"Pro-Gbagbo camp is an established collection of militias united by ethnic,geographic or religious affaliation.There are segments of the military that are still loyal in Abidjan.The re-intergration of former forces loyal to Gbagbo and Ouattara's will be another mammoth task that awaits the Economist leader.Mishandling the case can mean military constipation and an early exit creating another power vacuum that will throw the west African nation into turmoil.

It is befitting for Gbagbo to appear before international courts so that incumbent governments trodding in similar paths will think twice before acting.This should be one case where African leadership will concur that one of their own has behaved in ways that deserve sanctioning by international courts.The consequences of domestic courts handling the case are quite obvious and therefore shall not find relevance in the circumstances.

The continent of African is loudly calling for rational leaders,able to articulate policies that promote good governance and respect for democratic values while exercising tolerance and pragmatism.Africa deserves better leadership,the era for dictatorships is now in annals of history and therefore all totalitarian regimes and military dictatorships should know that their time is over.


There has been lack of impartiality in the implementation of United Nations resolution 1973, which mandated the use of force by the UN forces in the protection of civilians in Libya.The resolution on Libya speak of use of UN forces,but not in order to support one of the sides in the conflict.It is now conventional wisdom that UN forces came to assist the rebels who are apparent not poorly armed but untrained as well,against Gaddafi's professionally trained,well equipped,well dressed and well fed forces.Such behaviour by the world body had raised concerns over its impartiality in handling situations of such magnitude and complexity.In fact, this is not the first time the UN has conduct in such ways,it did the same thing in Ivory Coast.The ambiguity of the resolution has enabled the international forces to go beyond the mandate of the Security Council resolution,approved in March from which countries with veto powers such as Russia abstained from voting.The double standards with which the United States is well known for have spilled to the operations of the world body and if unchecked have a propensity of dividing the universal entity into various camps.In the hands of leaders with such ideas international security is in the intensive care unit.There should be transparency in the operations of the UN and clearly spelt out resolutions should be made to ensure that its implementation remains within boundaries.

There has been recent outburst by the Russian President Medevdev who remarked ,"resolutions should be executed in accordance with their letter and spirit and not in accordance with the random interpretations that were given by some states".His remarks are not far off the mark as the voice of the Obama administration can be traced in the interpretation of the resolution.Although there has been outright denial by his regime, the United States and its allies are after regime change in Libya.They will make sure that their objects are achieved at whatever cost.

It is the United States and the coalition of the willing which invaded Iraq in 2003 without the blessings of the United Nations.Gaddafi is a despotic leader but a resolution is a resolution and must be implemented according to the text.Failure to observe this will be a recipe for disaster as future resolutions will instead be licences for fueling conflict rather than an attempt to end it.

Many more tyrannies and their cronies are bustling in the luxury of their looty while the generality of the people languish in abject poverty.What made the libyan people in the east rise against government has to do with economic issues and deep feeling of resentment at losing out on a share of oil wealth,which has resulted in underdevelopment .

However, the reasons for the uprising of the west are quite unique to their circumstances.Misrata has been relatively prosperous,with a strong mercantile tradition and one of the highest literacy rates.Abdullah Mohammed,an engineer returning from Liverpool to join the struggle, observed that,"we did not rise up in Misrata because we are poor.We rose up because because we want freedom".

While everyone sympathises with the Libyan people,that does not give those tasked to implement resolution 1973 leverage to do as they deem necessary but should follow the dictates of the resolution for the good of the world.