Former MP Kigoma Urban
- Mar 2, 2007
STATEMENT OF ACT-WAZALENDO ON SADC SUMMIT 2019
Peace without justice and democracy is a negative peace
The Southern African Development Cooperation (SADC) summit meetings are ongoing in the City of Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania. Tanzania is hosting the meetings under its capacity as the Chair of SADC 2019/2020. ACT- Wazalendo appreciates the wisdom of SADC Heads of State and their governments to accept Tanzania to host the summit despite the fact that the current 5th phase Tanzanian President has never attended any previous SADC summit meetings in other countries since when he became the President of the United Republic of Tanzania in 2015.
We believe that the history of Tanzania as the leader of the frontline states in the fight for liberation in Africa will continue to be respected and acknowledged regardless of the indifference shown by our current government administration and the coordinated efforts taken by the current government to destroy the foundations that were built by SADC founding fathers. We hope that Tanzanians will continue to cherish and uphold the sweat and blood shed in the collective efforts to fight for liberation of our countries. This can be done through collective action to strengthen democracy in all SADC member countries.
While SADC summit continues in Dar es Salaam, a number of its member states are still facing various challenges including poverty, restricted fundamental freedoms such freedom of press and abuse of basic democratic rights including unfair elections.
Citizens of 7 among 16 member states (i.e. 44% of members) have annual per capita income of lower than US$ 1000. These are Malawi, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania and Zimbabwe. 4 member states (South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Botswana) are among the 6 countries with highest levels of inequality in the world.
Citizens in SADC countries face a number of restricted civic spaces. Such include weak parliaments leading to their inability to perform their constitutional functions (for example Lesotho), kidnappings of civilians, disappearances, unfair arrests, imprisonments and wrong court charges to journalists (for example Azory Gwanda and Erick Kabendera in Tanzania), unfair elections and vote rigging (for example Zanzibar/Tanzania in 2015; Zambia in 2016; Zimbabwe 2018; DRC 2019). All these are happening in the eyes of SADC Heads of State who have been indifferent to such undemocratic trends in the region. They are not discussing these issues. SADC summit and its meetings do not discuss the freedom of people of SADC citizens as its raison d’ état for its establishment.
ACT Wazalendo calls upon SADC leaders who are currently meeting in Dar-Es-Salaam to discuss in details about the situation of democracy in the region. It also calls upon the leaders to denounce the emerging norm of SADC election observers to wrongly declare that elections have been free and fair while knowing it was not even when there are already registered complaints in the courts. This has happened as recent as in the 2019 Malawi elections.
It is crucial for SADC Heads of State to respect SADC articles of cooperation and the constitutions of their countries. That is key in ensuring that democratic rights are protected as well as peace and tranquility in the member states. Citizens of SADC countries are tired of blood shed in each elections. In showing the readiness for change, ACT – Wazalendo asks SADC Heads of State to speak with the President of the Republic of Tanzania to release Eric Kabendera with no conditions. Eric Kabendera is in jail for obvious made-up charges.
ACT- Wazalendo leaders met with MDC (Zimbabwe) leaders who are in the country together with the Vice President of their party- Prof. Welshman Ncube. We have been saddened by the ongoing economic and democratic conflicts in their country.
We pray for wisdom among SADC leaders to resolve and save Zimbabwe by ensuring that negotiations between the ruling ZANU PF and MDC. SADC, in a large extent, is responsible for the current situation by not taking corrective measures during President Mugabe’s regime. It is the responsible of SADC to ensure that the citizens of Zimbabwe are at peace and living in a democracy.
ACT Wazalendo has thoroughly looked at and confirmed that business trend among SADC countries is minimal. We believe that our true cooperation will happen only when there is free trade among SADC members allowing SADC citizens to move goods and services from one country to another without obstacles. Thus, ACT Wazalendo asks SADC Heads of State to act on their business deliberations in the SADC region. Among 16 SADC countries, only four have signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
The host country, Tanzania, that has been boosting about and pushing for Pan Africanism, has not ratified AfCFTA. Among SADC countries, only South Africa, Namibia, Eswatini and Zimbabwe have ratified the AfCFTA. SADC cannot achieve industrialization if there is no free trade. It is high time that Africa upholds business within its borders by ensuring that its leaders are walking their talks.
ACT Wazalendo welcomes all SADC leaders in our country as they continue to feel at home. We call for people’s SADC and not rulers’ SADC.
Kabwe Zuberi Ruyagwa Zitto
Party Leader, ACT Wazalendo
August 16th, 2019
Dar Es Salaam