Sadc must step to the plate

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IT IS a common cause that the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) is currently grappling with the Islamic insurrection in northern Mozambique.
Thousands of Mozambicans have been displaced, while hundreds have been killed by the Islamic fundamentalists, forcing Maputo to appeal to Sadc for assistance to quell the insurgency. Sadc, through its organ on politics, defence and security cooperation, has met severally, but is yet to pronounce a comprehensive response, except calling for cessation of the hostilities and offering solidarity to the Maputo government.

The region, analysts have argued, has no capacity to intervene militarily in Mozambique and fear the contagion effect of the rebellion. Besides, there are many hotspots in Sadc which need assistance and the regional bloc has been, unfortunately, lackadaisical in its approach. This has earned Sadc the tag of being just a barking bulldog. And one such hotspot is Zimbabwe.

While in Zimbabwe there is peace, the country’s decades-long political and economic crises need to be resolved to avoid the nation slipping into civil unrest in the future. Zimbabwe is a ticking time bomb which must be defused now and Sadc has a crucial role to play to achieve that.

The regional bloc should never buy into the narrative of the ruling Zanu PF party that there is no crisis in the country. It’s common cause that for over two decades, the country has had political and economic crises.

The country’s political protagonists have of late been speaking to a large extent with one voice on the paramount need for an inclusive national dialogue to resolve the country’s myriad of challenges.

The Church, on the other hand, has shown its willingness to facilitate the dialogue and has gone further to suggest it would engage Sadc to nudge the political gladiators to the negotiating table.

Sadc must take advantage of the fertile ground created by President Emmerson Mnangagwa and opposition parties to midwife the inclusive dialogue and hammer out a permanent solution to Zimbabwe’s problems. The regional body must now show leadership by standing up to the plate and work with the Church, political parties and civil society to facilitate broad-based inclusive talks for Harare.

The long-suffering people of Zimbabwe need social and economic development and that can only be achieved via the resolution of the country’s political cacophony

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