Foreign Policy Blogs

The SADC 30th Jubilee Summit Starts in Windhoek, but No Demonstration Allowed

The Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are meeting in Namibia’s capital city Windhoek for SADC’s 30th Summit yesterday August 16 and today August 17, 2010. Apparently, high on the summit agenda is the organization’s pledge to address the region’s “hotspots” such as Lesotho, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In the meantime, a ban against demonstrations throughout the country has been imposed until August 20th.

Amid the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies SADC’s meetings, the 30th anniversary leaves much important business unchecked, including:
• Critics argue that as an overall project, SADC’s goal to further socio-economic cooperation and integration as well as political and security cooperation among its 15 southern African member states largely remains unfinished.
• A tidal wave of public outrage about state-sponsored corruption (Angola), and self-enrichment schemes. There is a perception that politicians are only interested in fattening their own bellies instead of making sure that the wealth is shared equally.
• Southern African governments’ inaction in addressing poverty and inequality, which has created a perception that politicians are not doing enough to improve the conditions of ordinary people on the ground. It is not unusual to hear politicians in Southern Africa self-congratulate themselves about the peace, stability and democracy their respective countries are enjoying. The truth is those concepts are abstract and only have value as political symbolism if they are not translated into concrete gains. People need to experience tangible progress that can improve their economic situation on the ground.
• For all the talk about economic development, it seems that most governments in the region don’t know how to make government work for their citizens. In most parts of the region governance has been characterized by all talk but no substance.



Ndumba J. Kamwanyah

Ndumba Jonnah Kamwanyah, a native of Namibia in Southern Africa, is an independent consultant providing trusted advice and capacity building through training, research, and social impact analysis to customers around the world. Mos recently Ndumba returned from a consulting assignment in Liberia in support of the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
In his recent previous life Ndumba taught (as an Adjunct Professor) traditional justice and indigenous African political institutions in sub-Saharan Africa at the Rhode Island College-Anthropology Department.

He is very passionate about democracy development and peace-building, and considers himself as a street researcher interested in the politics of everyday life.
Twitter: NdumbaKamwanyah