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Mnangagwa's packed in-tray as Organ Troika chair

by Staff reporter
18 Aug 2019 at 09:34hrs | Views
As President Emmerson Mnangagwa assumes the chairmanship of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation - also known as Organ Troika - from his counterpart from the sister republic of Zambia, President Edgar Lungu, his schedule is likely to be onerous and punishing.

Essentially, the Organ Troika underwrites and guarantees peace, which is considered a key ingredient in the 16-member regional bloc's development agenda.

Zimbabwe was elected to chair the Organ Troika at a regional meeting in Namibia last year.

It is believed that the region critically needs peace and stability more than at any other time in its 39-year history as it positions itself to be seamlessly integrated into the continental free trade area - the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) - which was officially launched on July 7 in Niamey, Niger.

Regional leaders are agreed that for there to be development, especially in line with the Sadc Industrial Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063), there has to be sustainable and enduring peace, security and stability.

And this is likely to be President Mnangagwa's immediate exigency as Troika Organ chair.

However, his task is likely to be made easier by peaceful elections in Madagascar, Kingdom of eSwatini, Democratic Republic of Congo, the Comoros, Malawi and South Africa in the past year.

But his in-tray is likely to be filled by the issues below:


Although South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the current Sadc facilitator for the national reform process in Lesotho, managed to oversee the signing of an agreement in July this year by the Southern African country's political parties to establish a statutory National Legislative Reform Authority that will coordinate the national reform process, tensions still remain in the kingdom.

In essence, through the agreement, the parties undertook to establish the reform authority, which was envisaged to guide the country in effecting constitutional governance, security and media reforms.

But only last week fresh media reports from the troubled country indicated a renewed bid to oust current Prime Minister Dr Thomas Thabane by members from his All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.

A faction in the ABC, which is led by Professor Nqosa Mahao, and its opposition allies filed a no-confidence motion against Dr Thabane on June 5 this year.

The motion was immediately seconded by the Democratic Congress (DC)'s deputy leader Motlalentoa Letsosa.

The anti-Thabane faction is proposing that one of its members - Samuel Rupapa - takes over as caretaker prime minister pending processes that would lead Prof Mahao, who is currently not an member of parliament, to assume the reins of power.

Overall, the ongoing tensions within the ruling ABC are understood to be a culmination of the factional fights between the newly elected national executive committee (NEC) that is led by Prof Mahao and the old NEC, which is refusing to vacate office.

Prof Mahao emerged as Dr Thabane deputy after the ABC's contentious elective conference in February this year.

Speaking after the recent 21st meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ (MCO) in Zambia recently, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said progress on the reform process in Lesotho was frustratingly slow.

"There are a few issues which obviously are going to remain on the President's desk. Firstly, it is the issue of Lesotho itself, and we believe that the issue of Lesotho, the reforms they are supposed to have taken - while we commend Lesotho - they have been slow," said Minister Moyo.

"Sadc only has an oversight committee whose responsibility has been early warning, and they have got no further mandate, so we think that it is critical that we enhance the capability of a body which should assist Lesotho to implement the reforms which have been agreed upon within Sadc. We have South Africa as a facilitator, we thought that we should then have a mediator, a mediation committee so that we can then have some kind of better mandate to push the process because member states have been paying for a committee which has just been an early warning system," he added.


The Organ Troika is also likely to keep an eye on simmering tensions in Botswana, where President Mokgweetsi Masisi and former president Ian Khama seem to be falling out. The governing Botswana Democracy Party has been dented as a result.

Botswana Movement for Democracy president Sydney Pilane and Alliance for Progressives leader Ndaba Gaolath, among other leaders, all left BDP during the year.


Similarly, the Organ is expected to closely monitor the unfolding political processes in Malawi, where there have also been soaring tensions after the recent elections in May.

Democratic Progressive Party emerged as the winner, but the results are being contested by Lazarus Chakwera of the MCP and UTM leader Saulos Chilima - Prof Mutharika's former deputy.

The court challenge is still before the courts.

President Peter Mutharika skipped the ongoing 39th Ordinary Summit of the Sadc Heads of State and Government, which ends today, and sent his Vice President Everton Chimulirenji instead.


Despite the relatively peaceful elections in the region in the past 12 months, particularly in the DRC, which recently witnessed the peaceful transfer of power in six decades, the Organ will continue to monitor elections in the coming 12 months, especially those expected in Botswana and Mozambique in October.

Food Security and Climate Change

Further, there is also pressing need to address the food security situation in the region, especially in countries that were affected by drought in the 2018/2019 summer cropping season, including weather-related calamities, which affected Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

President Mnangagwa, therefore, is expected to provide the much-needed direction to develop early warning systems and resilience to climate change.

Encouragingly, the establishment of the Sadc Climate Service Centre – which collects, analyses and disseminates information on weather and climate to member states – is likely is likely to help in this regard.

Sadc Standby Force

Sadc long-stated intention to establish Standby Force is coming to fruition as construction of the Regional Logistics Depot in Rasesa village in Botswana is underway.

So a packed programme and agenda awaits President Mnangagwa during the next 12 months.

Source - sundaymail