By Gershom Ndhlovu
Is the Southern African Development Community (SADC) overwhelmed by events in some of its member countries such as
Does SADC still have a future if the above events in some of its member country are anything to go by?
Some SADC member countries seem to be supporting the current political system in
Leading this onslaught on Mwanawasa is the Zimbabwean leadership which itself has issues with
If the rumour that Mwanawasa threatened to resign as SADC chair as SADC chairman when he was apparently snubbed by other SADC leaders at the TICAD IV gathering in Japan, I would actually urge him to go all the way and pull Zambia out of the regional grouping because continuing membership in the organisation is reducing Zambia to belonging to a "Mickey Mouse" club where rules do not apply at all.
On the other hand, the xenophobic attacks in which several people have lost lives in various parts of South Africa shows that the concept of SADC has not permeated to the grassroots in the member countries where people feel, and rightly so, that this grouping, just like the African Union, is more of an occasional gathering of leaders where they feast on champagne and caviar when their people are grappling with the basics of life.
If my memory serves me right, Foreign Minister Kabinga Pande sometime back issued a statement to the effect that
Following on that statement,
If Zambian nationals will feel insecure of not only travelling to certain countries, let alone living therein, Zambians should not pretend to be happy being in membership with those countries belonging to organisations that pretend to be working for the good of citizens of all member countries when, in fact, not.
South Africa as the most economically powerful member of the SADC has let other countries down, first by failing the people of Zimbabwe through its role as mediator in the Zimbabwean crisis where President Mbeki has not been as resolute as has been expected of him, and secondly by its citizens beating the hell out of foreigners.
In fact it took a newspaper to force President Thabo Mbeki to issue a half-hearted apology when it asked him to step down because of failing to provide leadership to all the South Africans.
Chiefs are supposed to be non-partisan in their conduct particularly on issues of elections. It is surprising that some
These traditional leaders should bear in mind that the people they lead belong to different parties and, if they came out like Paramount Chief Kalonga Gawa Undi who is said to have endorsed the MMD candidate Reuben Chisanga Banda and Senior Chief Nzamane and the 29 village headmen who protested apparently for not have been consulted, they are bound to be misunderstood.
In fact, this could breed indiscipline between traditional leaders and their subjects as they would quarrel over their differences of political choice.
The question that begs an answer is that did all other parties consult the traditional leaders on the candidates contesting on their tickets which would be fair, or is it that it does not matter who the opposition candidates are because the other parties do not have the proverbial carrot to attract them with?
As a subject of Gawa Undi on my maternal Chewa side and Nzamane on my paternal Nguni heritage, I would love to sit down with them, discuss matters involving their subjects in particular and Zambians at large while waiting for their subjects to vote for whichever candidate they think would represent their interests best whether from the MMD, FDD, PF, UPND, or the APC, rather than arm-twisting them to vote for a particular candidate.
Who does not know the challenges that the people of
The two chiefs should be engaging government to take electricity to the M'gubudu and Chiparamba areas which have great agricultural potential instead of just politicking on by-election candidates.
I believe Senior Chief Nzamane should be feeling embarrassed for being "ticked off" publicly by MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba for expressing his partisan views on the MMD candidate.