WINDHOEK – President Hage Geingob has an opportunity to distinguish himself as a true African statesman if he, as chairman of SADC, provides strong leadership on Zimbabwe where a landmark court case challenging recent election results kicks off tomorrow.
This is according to a high-powered MDC Alliance delegation currently in Windhoek to lobby for support ahead of the court showdown that challenges Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s slender victory of 50.8 percent in the recent elections.
“It thus goes without saying President Geingob, who is directly affected by the situation in Zimbabwe as a neighbour whose country houses thousands of Zimbabweans, should deal with these matters with urgency, wisdom and direction. He can make history by doing the right thing,” MDC-T national executive member Gideon Shoko told New Era yesrerday.
Mnangagwa’s main challenger, Nelson Chamisa, is contesting the 44.3 percent allocated to him, claiming it was doctored to rob him of the opportunity to lead Zimbabwe.
Having roped in high-profile South African lawyers Dali Mpofu and Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, Chamisa is leaving nothing to chance as he wages a war on both legal and diplomatic fronts.
Shoko is accompanied to Namibia by MDC-T women’s league boss, Lynnette Karenyi and youthful academic, Dr Phillan Zamchiya who were dispatched to Windhoek late last week on a diplomatic offensive that involved lobbying SADC.
The group intended to meet SADC heads of state and government who congregated in Windhoek for the just-ended summit, which endorsed Geingob as chairman for the next 12 months.
The MDC Alliance on Saturday served SADC leaders with a petition in which it called on the regional body to closely monitor the situation in Zimbabwe, including alleged violations by that country’s electoral body, ZEC.
It also asked SADC to help diffuse military interventions in peaceful civil disobedience activities, which left six opposition demonstrators dead during running battles with the police and the army.
Chamisa is asking SADC to keep a close eye on court proceedings challenging the electoral outcome.
Although President Mnangagwa has been largely endorsed by the international community, including SADC and the African Union, Chamisa’s delegation to Windhoek says a dangerous precedent has been set in the region regarding the manner he ascended to power late last year.
“SADC has key role to play in Zimbabwe. Many people believe Mugabe was impeached, but it was actually a coup. It is very dangerous for SADC not to look at these things properly,” Shoko told New Era yesterday.
“You know, please learn from each other. The militaries in the whole of Southern Africa can easily get inspired by the action of their counterparts in Zimbabwe when there’s a political difference. SADC has a role to condemn strongly these kinds of actions.”
Shoko said despite historical relations between Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF party and their Namibian counterparts Swapo, for which Geingob is president, he expect the Namibian leader to show impartiality when dealing with Zimbabwean issues as SADC chairman.
“We believe that Namibia is a great country, ruled by great people. Land of the Brave, as you call it in your national anthem. But any problem affecting Zimbabwe would also affect Namibia.”
“You have thousands of Zimbabweans living in Namibia because of the situation back home, but if all was well in Zimbabwe, our citizens would not be here.”