Political instability in both the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Kingdom of Lesotho are just some of the issues Namibia will face once it assumes the SADC chair later this year, says the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Peya Mushelenga.
Namibia will take over the SADC chairmanship from South Africa in August. Contributing to the budget debate in parliament on Tuesday, Mushelenga said that with the situation in the DRC, Namibia would be heavily involved, not only as chair of SADC, but also with former president Hifikepunye Pohamba being SADC’s special envoy on the DRC.
“The pre-occupation with managing peace and stability for that country and the region at large require resources,”
Mushelenga said, adding that therefore he supports the allocation of N$76,437,000, during the current financial year and N$261,613,000 for the current Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period for multilateral relations programmes.
According to Mushelenga, the situation in Lesotho has its roots in the long-standing standoff between the parties of the prime minister Tom Thabane and former prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
He said in the meantime, civilians continue to suffer and the country’s focus on economic development is derailed.
“Like other SADC countries, Namibia has spent resources on Lesotho in her endeavours to contribute to peace-building efforts in the mountainous kingdom,” said Mushelenga.
As chair of SADC, Mushelenga said, Namibia has a task to find a lasting solution and chart the roadmap that safeguards against repetitions of dreadful events, a regular norm in that country over the past years.
“Peace and stability create conducive environments for economic development and growth, as human and financial resources will be dedicated to productive programmes,” he said.
He said, therefore, Namibia should continue to jealously guard against disruptive trends in the region and support President Hage Geingob in the execution of his duties as chair of SADC.
He said the president is equal to the task before him and he has no doubt that President Geinbob will tend to the flowers in the regional garden to blossom into a beautiful scene that brings delight and hope to depressed onlookers.
Mushelenga also used the opportunity to welcome the “orderly and peaceful manner in which the changing of guard took place in Zimbabwe”, which sees President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the helm of the Zimbabwean state “in accordance with the laws of that country”.
He said at this juncture he finds it irresistible to pay tribute to the fallen heroes of the Zimbabwean struggle for freedom and independence – among them Herbert Chitepo and Josiah Tongogara.
“May their legacy continue to prevail in the land of Monomotapa as it strives to rebuild its economy that have been plagued by the sanctions imposed by countries of the West,” he said.
“President Mnangagwa belongs to the club of freedom fighters in southern Africa and has served his government in various capacities over the past years,” he added.
He said Mnangagwa would thus add value to SADC programmes of regional integration and conflict resolution and make meaningful contributions to peace-making efforts on the continent.
Furthermore, Mushelenga said that Namibia, like Zimbabwe, is among the countries that have consistently and persistently supported the cause of the people of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
“All progressive statesmen and women should continue to call for the implementation of the UN resolution that calls for a referendum in Western Sahara without further delay,” said the minister.