Namibia, Botswana Make Pledge for Peace

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Namibia and Botswana have pledged continued support for the resolution of conflicts in the region that are likely to stunt the socio-economic development of SADC. Speaking at a State Banquet held in honour of his visiting counterpart from Botswana Festus Mogae, President Hifikepunye Pohamba indicated that while progress was being made towards democracy and political stability in the region including in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), SADC members must continue to assist that government and people to achieve their noble objectives. In June 2006, Congolese people will go to the polls. The election is to be the first multi-party poll in the vast African country in 45 years, ending a post-war transitional period. Transitional President Joseph Kabila is registered among the presidential candidates, together 10 others. According to Pohamba, the promotion of peace, stability and security on the continent calls for collective responsibility, involvement and support. As members of the international community, Namibia and Botswana are equally affected by the goings on elsewhere in Africa and the world at large, so they should continue to actively support and participate in the activities of regional, continental and international organisations. Mogae shared the sentiment, adding that as the chairperson of SADC, he feels the region has shown much progress towards consolidation of peace and stability at the political level. “We note the progress being made in the preparations for the democratic elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he stated. Mogae indicated that it was SADC’s hope that everything would be done to maintain the momentum of the process and to specifically ensure that elections are held as scheduled to consolidate the gains already made towards the attainment of peace and stability in that country. He also commended the Namibian government for what he described as capable and sterling leadership that is providing the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. “I am convinced that the organ will play a key role in the development of peace and security of the region and the continent,” indicated President Mogae. While DRC will this June open doors to peace and stability, the situation in the Darfur region in Sudan remains a concern for the two countries. In this region, people continue to endure hardships. The conflict in Darfur has killed tens of thousands of people and driven about two million from their homes since early 2003. Violence has escalated to a point where many parts of the region are no-go areas for aid workers. According to Pohamba, Botswana and Namibia must continue to engage international organisations to safeguard and promote the two countries’ interest and contribute to equity and fairness in global affairs.