Gaborone – Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his DRC counterpart President Felix Tshisekedi recently held talks over who will be the next SADC Executive Secretary after Dr Stergomena Tax steps down in August this year.
Botswana and DRC are the members of the bloc eligible to put up a candidate for the top job, and both already have.
Botswana’s candidate is Mr Elias Magosi while the DRC has put forward Professor Faustin Luanga Mukela.
Just before leaving for Kinshasa, President Masisi said he wanted to engage President Tshisekedi on the way forward, and expressed confidence that the DRC leader would ultimately back Botswana’s bid.
President Masisi said Botswana had never contested for the SADC top post before.
“As I said in Malawi last week, I want to re-energise the brand of Botswana. This can be done by, among others, nurturing good relations with other countries. If we can achieve this, then we will be in a better position to compete for more positions globally,” President Masisi said.
Some horse trading is already in play.
According to President Masisi’s Press Secretary, Batlhalefi Leagajang, Botswana is backing the DRC’s bid for a non-permanent United Nations Security Council seat for 2022-2023.
“This is how we support one another as neighbours and members of SADC,” President Masisi reportedly said after meeting President Tshisekedi on the matter.
President Masisi also assured President Tshisekedi, who is the African Union Chair, of Botswana’s support during his tenure at the helm of the continental bloc.
This raises the possibility of the DRC dropping its bid for the SADC post in return.
SADC spokesperson Ms Barbara Lopi told The Southern Times that “all positions at the SADC Secretariat are filled in line with the SADC policies, and eligible member states apply for the different positions that fall vacant”.
“According to the current status of all eligibility criteria, the Republic of Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo are eligible to nominate candidates for the position of Executive Secretary, and the two member states have submitted candidates for the position of Executive Secretary,” said Ms Lopi.