Foreign Policy Blogs

Pomp in Southern Africa: Deja vu All Over Again!

This time in the Kingdom of Swaziland as Eastern and Southern Africa heads of state and Government convene for the 14th Summit of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, starting tomorrow September 1, 2010. Sounds familiar? A little over two weeks ago, Southern Africa heads of state and government met in Windhoek for the 30-anniversary of SADC.

The difference between COMESA and SADC , add East African players on the former.  Other than that, it is all the same players and the same pomp that have come to characterize much of African heads of state and government meetings. All talk, talk and talk, but little action.

Apparently, the two-day summit, to be held at the Royal Swazi Sun, Ezulwini, will focus on creating more competitive environment for doing business; regional integration; implementation of the Comesa Customs Union; the tripartite cooperation between Comesa-EAC and SADC; and science and technology.

The irony is that the summit is taking place at the time when the people of Swaziland live under conditions of extreme political repression, and alarming rates of poverty and HIV. Political activity in the country is banned, and arbitrary arrests, beatings, and torture, are the order of the day.

The summit will see His Excellency President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe handover the COMESA Chairpersonship to His Majesty King  Mswati III, which critics view as hypocrisy on the part of COMESA.



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