SADC chair briefs incoming chairperson

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Timo Shihepo

 Windhoek - SADC chairperson Dr Hage Geingob has said that the regional bloc is doing what it can to ensure safe elections in order to uphold democratic values in the region.

Geingob also said despite concluding the elections chapter for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), persisting problems in SADC’s new member state, Comoros, remain unresolved. Human right activists and opposition parties are accusing President Azali Assoumani of running the country like a dictator.

Geingob was speaking at State House on Monday when briefing his deputy, incoming SADC Chairperson and Tanzania’s President Dr John Magufuli on what was happening around the SADC region.

“There are things happening in Comoros. I am trying to target it through South Africans – using former presidents. I got a letter from the opposition (parties in Comoros), saying that things are not good,” said Geingob.

The Southern Times understands that Geingob is looking at sending former South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate and bring about change that would eventually restore order and peace to politically troubled Comoros.

Geingob also briefed Magufuli on the developments unfolding in Botswana, whereby former President Ian Khama is reported to have joined the opposition party ahead of elections this year as the relationship between him and his successor Mokgweetsi Masisi deteriorates.

Geingob said he will handle that problem himself by organising a meeting between the two as it was not a problem that was out of order.

“But I am not going to bother you with problems until you get into the seat. I hope I don’t leave you with a lot of problems. The DRC issue, we have handled. We have been on telephone calls with you (as the deputy chairperson of SADC). The mere fact that peaceful elections took place in DRC, in itself, it’s an achievement. I told my brother (DRC president, Felix Tshisekedi) that you don’t make peace with friends but with enemies and that as a leader he must try to be inclusive,” said Geingob.

On the Burundi’s application to join SADC, Geingob told Magufuli that he will be handing over that issue to him as it’s not a big problem.

At the same meeting, Magufuli complimented Geingob and Namibia for the work they have been doing.

“You are the chairman, I am your deputy chairman and the way you are doing decisions as the chair, I always follow as you are my boss,” he said with humour.

 

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