Political issues in Lesotho and DRC concern Namibia

By Lahja Nashuuta

Windhoek – Namibia remains committed to regional integration in the SADC region, but political challenges in Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remain major regional concerns, Namibia’s deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said this week.

Nandi-Ndatwaih, who is also the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, said Namibia was committed to implementing objectives of the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) by implementing decisions and programmes that were aimed at moving the region towards industrialisation. The ultimate objective of the RISDP is to deepen the integration agenda of SADC with a view to accelerating poverty eradication and the attainment of other economic and non-economic development goals.

The RISDP is underpinned by the SADC Vision, which charts the direction for the development of the region. The SADC’s Declaration and Treaty that was signed by Heads of State and Government in August 1992 in Windhoek calls upon member countries to develop a vision of a shared future, a future within a regional community. “Namibia remains committed to the promotion of regional integration in the SADC region, with a view to accelerate the eradication of poverty and attain socio-economic development,” Nandi-

Ndaitwah said while addressing members of the diplomatic corps accredited to Namibia on Monday.

She said although the political and security situation in the region remained relatively stable, the political challenges in Lesotho and the DRC were being accorded adequate attention by SADC organs with a view to attaining lasting peace and political stability.

“We  hope that Lesotho, which held its National Assembly election  last month  of which Namibia was among the  SADC Election Observation Mission,  will strive to implement the SADC summit decisions regarding  constitutional and security sector  reforms that  would  eventually  bring peace and political  stability  to the kingdom, ” she said.

With regards to the DRC, Nandi-Ndaitwah noted that SADC member states would continue to support the implementation of the December 2017 agreement that was signed between the government and opposition parties.

Politics remain tense in the DRC, especially after President Joseph Kabila refused to step down following the end of his second term in December 2016. In October 2016, major political stakeholders including Kabila’s Alliance of the Presidential Majority, opposition parties and civil society agreed to set up a transitional coalition government until the national elections next year.

“It is a common knowledge that elections in DRC will not take place this year.  However, we hope the electoral commission in DRC will do everything possible for elections to take place in April 2018 as indicated by DRC,” said the Namibian deputy premier.

Meanwhile, Namibia has welcomed Morocco into the African Union (AU).

This is a change of heart for the southern African country that has been critical about Morocco’s continued annexation of the Western Sahara.

“We are encouraged by the work of the AU Peace and Security Council on this issue and we look forward to the continued cooperation between the AU and UN on the question of Western Sahara and other issues of common concern,” she said. In addition, as a member of the AU and AU Committee of Ten, Namibia has reiterated calls for a comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council, in line with the demands of the Common African Position.

Nandi-Ndaitwah noted: “One other important issue for Africa is our collective resolve to canvas support for the Common African Position on the Reform of the UN Security Council, as expounded in the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.  The historical injustice that the African continent continues to endure must be corrected without further delay”.

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