The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Africa as a whole are bound to employ strategies, resources and ideas to rescue the ordinary citizens who are caught in the crossfire of political conflicts. It is, therefore, fitting that SADC is in the process of establishing the Regional Mediation Unit for the purpose of providing institutional framework for ad hoc mediation efforts.
This was said by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Edwin Batshu, when giving a key note address at the launch of the SADC- Council of Non Governmental Organisations (CNGO) Summer School.
Batshu said that despite the relative peace and stability enjoyed in the region, there are still countries marred by political conflicts.
“While in some of the countries that are affected by conflicts there is incremental progress mainly through SADC mediation efforts, some of them are on the path of regression towards armed conflicts,” Batshu said.
The minister said the sentiments captured in the Strategic Integrative Plan for the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security to the effect that good governance, peace and security are important requirements for regional integration and development need special emphasis.
He said, therefore, peace building, conflict prevention and resolution, the promotion of democratic values and good governance are key to the realisation of the mandate of SADC.
He said it is not an accident that SADC-Council of Non Governmental Organisations is inaugurating the summer school under the theme ‘Regional Mediation Efforts in the SADC Region: Opportunities and Challenges for Enhancing Effectiveness and Building Synergy’.
“Emerging conflicts are complex and multi dimensional. They involve many and diverse actors and, as such, their resolution requires a multi pronged approach involving different actors. For this reason, building strategic synergies among the actors in our region is imperative. It is through unity and concerted efforts that we can gain strength and effectively meet our challenges,” Batshu said.
The SADC-CNGO held a three-day ‘Summer School’ at Gaborone Sun from 27th to 29 November. Adane Ghebremeskel, CNGO’s Policy Adviser on governance, peace and security, said in an interview that the aim of the school was to bring together different individuals from the region, some of whom have been at the centre of conflicts, to share their experiences, ideas and possible solutions with the aim of providing concrete policy recommendations for the SADC Regional Mediation Unit on enhancing the effectiveness of mediation processes and the value of the mediation outcomes with regard to addressing root causes of conflicts in the region; and to discuss and recommend best ways of building effective cooperation between SADC Regional Mediation Unit and civil society.
SADC-CNGO was established in 2004 for the purpose of facilitating the engagement of civil society with regional integration and development issues centred on SADC as a regional body. This is in accordance with Articles 16 and 23 of the SADC Treaty that spells out the importance of peoples’ and civil society participation in regional integration processes.