Mozambique and SADC – a case of strange bedfellows?

Extraordinary SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government hits an odd note in the face of insecurity in northern Mozambique

According to the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Summit of Heads of State and Government is the “supreme policy-making institution of SADC with the responsibility for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community in accordance with Article 10 of the SADC Treaty”. For this reason, SADC Summits are important gathering forums for regional leaders to discuss and take decisions related to regional integration, and peace and security matters. SADC will hold an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government on 23 June 2021 in Maputo, Mozambique, to discuss issues of regional integration, cooperation and development.

President Cyril Ramaphosa at the official opening ceremony of the Extraordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC’s) Heads of State and Government in Maputo, Mozambique. Photo courtesy SA Presidency.

President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique will chair the Extraordinary Summit in his capacity as the current chairperson of SADC. On the Summit agenda, the following key issues will be discussed:

  • The regional response and support to Mozambique in addressing terrorism, regional food and nutrition security, gender and development, and progress in the regional response to HIV and AIDS and COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A review of the progress made in the implementation of the theme of the 40thSADC Summit: SADC: 40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges, which was endorsed by the SADC Summit in August, 2020.
  • Marking the regional commemoration of the 40thAnniversary of SADC with the launch of three publications by President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi of Mozambique, in his capacity as the Chairperson of SADC. The publications to be launched are: 40 Years of SADC: Enhancing Regional Cooperation and Integration; Volume 2 of Mozambique SADC Success Stories, and; the Hashim Mbita (Southern African Liberation Struggles).

On any other day or at any other time, an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government meeting to “review progress made in the implementation of the theme of the 40th SADC Summit” would not cause much anxiety or even keen media interest. However, these are not normal times, as northern Mozambique is in the throes of an insurgency and the world finds itself in a global health pandemic. One would reasonably assume these items would feature more prominently on the meeting’s agenda as the region seeks to develop and implement suitable regional responses.

Internally displaced persons await in line during an United Nations World Food Program’s distribution at the “3 de fevereiro escola” school in Matuge district, northern Mozambique, on 24 February 2021. Food packages are distributed at the site for displaced families from Ibo, Mocimboa Da Praia and Macomia, places that have been attacked by armed insurgents in the last two years in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. Photo: Alfredo Zuniga/AFP

While it is important to review and celebrate SADC at 40, and given the current insecurity in northern Mozambique, the timing of this meeting, where SADC’s regional efforts will be reviewed and celebrated, may be a bit off. To date, there has been no clear regional response strategy to combat the insurgency, or at least one that has been publicly shared.  All information that was publicly shared regarding developments on this matter was found in the last Communiqué of the SADC Double Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Maputo on 27 May 2021.  But, as has been discussed previously, a communique’s value is that it only allows a peek into a “closed door” SADC meeting. By design, none of the decisions taken in the meeting are revealed in great detail in the communiqueHowever, it presents the reader with an opportunity to be better informed about certain discussions around certain decisions. If we look at the previous communique, it stated:

  1. Summit received a report of the Chairperson of the Organ on the security situation in Cabo Delgado Province, northern part of Mozambique, and reaffirmed its solidarity with the Government and people of the Republic of Mozambique, and its continued efforts in addressing terrorism and ensuring lasting peace and security in Mozambique, which is also a threat to the SADC Region.

5.Summit noted the progress in finding a lasting solution to terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado Province, and considered the proposed regional response in support of the Republic of Mozambique.

  1. Summit agreed to convene an extra-ordinary Summit by 20 June 2021 to be held in the Republic of Mozambique.

Mozambique’s President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/AFP

When analysing the items above, it is fairly clear a discussion on northern Mozambique was indeed held, and there was a general agreement that the region stands in solidarity with Mozambique. Lasting solutions were sought, and a regional response was considered. What this regional response consists of has not been publicly shared. Instead, various political and media analysts have posited several theories related to current developments and offered potential solutions to the insecurity, namely:

While the northern Mozambique insurgency will be an agenda point, there is a fear that its importance may get lost in the bigger meeting agenda, and that no implementable decisions regarding the insecurity will be taken due to time constraints, and possibly the celebratory mood of the occasion itself. This may result in the calling of another Extraordinary Double Troika meeting to again discuss the insurgency, and plan a roadmap going forward. All this does is waste time, and strengthens the insurgents’ belief that the perceived SADC inaction indicates weakness.

When reading item 6 above, there was some hope that a meeting would be held to finalise the implementation of a regional response plan. However, this was not to be, as Nyusi stated in his closing remarks during  the May summit:

Dear colleagues and brothers, I wish you a safe journey back to your respective countries, looking forward to seeing you in Maputo soon joined by other Colleagues (own emphasis) for the Extraordinary SADC Summit that will consider the traditional agenda (own emphasis) so that we do not lose focus on the mission assigned to our organisation.

This could be interpreted as an indication that he wants SADC’s focus, and the focus of other Double Troika members, to move on from the insecurity issue in northern Mozambique back to the traditional agenda. The nature of this traditional (SADC) meeting agenda, and the inclusion of other colleagues (10 other member states), may simply end up being an agenda item which may not be prioritised or raised to the necessary prominent status.

In short, because of the limited information shared in a communique, analysts are left to speculate, rather than being able to base their opinions on actual facts. This may result in a number of unwarranted conclusions that create a negative impression of the Summit, with a perceived lack of action on serious matters, despite important decisions being taken. This may in turn serve to further widen the gap between SADC itself and the citizenry of member states. The trust and respect for the organisation and the ability of the regional leadership will continue to wane, to the detriment of all and any well-intended regional processes.

Craig Moffat, PhD is the Head of Programme: Governance Delivery and Impact for Good Governance Africa’s National Security Programme. He has more than 17 years of practical experience working for government institutions and multilateral organisations. He was previously employed by the South African Foreign Service, where he worked extensively at identifying and analysing security threats towards South Africa as well as the southern Africa region. Previously, he was the political advisor for the Pretoria Regional Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Stellenbosch University.

 

 

Lesotho’s political impasse –  A case of déjà vu?

Stuck in a rut

“If we can just get to the next scheduled elections in 2022, that will be an achievement.” – Lesotho political commentator

After barely a year in office, Prime Minister (PM) Moeketsi Majoro finds himself in an all too familiar predicament that also bedevilled his predecessors. No Prime Minister has served out a full five-year term over the past decade. Now it appears Majoro and his ruling coalition may not be able to escape this chaotic political cycle.

Lesotho’s former Prime minister Thomas Thabane (L) with the current Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, during the swearing in ceremony at the Royal Palace in Maseru in the morning of May 20, 2020. Thabane resigned, ending a months-long political crisis that engulfed the kingdom after he was accused of playing a conspiratory role in the 2017 murder of his estranged wife. Photo: Molise Molise/AFP 

The major parties that make up the ruling coalition are the All Basotho Convention (ABC) (Majoro’s party) and the Democratic Congress (DC). Majoro’s appointment was met with much optimism, as he is a seasoned economist and former Finance Minister. However, while a competent technocrat may be able to examine data and formulate efficient policies, he may not be able to soothe existing tensions between rival political factions. This ongoing political malaise does not bode well for the strengthening and entrenchment of good governance in the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.

To constitute a government, a party or coalition must enjoy a simple majority in the 120-seat parliament, which equates to a total of 61 seats. Before the recent political developments, detailed below, the ruling coalition had 66 seats.

Majoro recently fired Justice Minister Professor Nqosa Mahao, Police Minister Mamoipone Senauoane, Forestry Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo and Deputy Health Minister Nto Moakhi. This move is seen as an attempt to purge his cabinet of potential defectors. In response, the axed former Justice Minister and deputy leader of the ABC, Professor Mahao, formed a new party called the Basotho Action Party (BAP).

The formation of the splinter party from the ABC caused some consternation, as Mahao claimed Majoro lacked the parliamentary majority he needed to continue governing. Mahao further claimed that 20 parliamentarians have agreed to join his BAP. As floor crossing is allowed, the defectors will cross with their parliamentary seats. If Mahao’s allegation proves true, the coalition would only have 46 seats, leading to a hung parliament.

The BAP has threatened to table a motion of no confidence in Majoro once the defecting parliamentarians have officially crossed over to his party. If Mahao does indeed manage to secure sufficient backing to create a hung parliament, it would be the third change of administration in the past five years.

Majoro, meanwhile, has tried to assure his supporters and the international community that his party remains stable and has the required majority to remain in power. In a show of solidarity, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Mathibeli Mokhothu (DC) expressed his party’s commitment to the ruling coalition.

The uncertainty regarding the stability of the ruling coalition and deteriorating political situation has led to a preventative intervention from the Southern African Development Community (SADC). This came in the form of  Special Envoy former, Minister Jeff Radebe, being deployed on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa, the SADC Facilitator to the Kingdom of Lesotho on 3 May 2021.  The Special Envoy was tasked to gain a better understanding of the political situation. President Ramaphosa is fulfilling his mandate to work closely with all parties to finalise the Reform Programme.

As has become the norm, the Special Envoy paid a courtesy visit to His Majesty King Letsie III and PM Majoro. To better understand the political developments, he also met with the leader of the DC and DPM Mokhothu; Professor Mahoa in his new role as leader of the newly-formed BAP; Monyane Mleleki, leader of Alliance of Democrats (AD); Mr Mothetjoa Metsing, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Former DPM of Lesotho.

During the closed-door engagements with the various stakeholders, one can only assume the tone and content of the deliberations:

  • King Letsie III – called for the PM and DPM to remain united and to not collapse the government before the elections in 2022.
  • The PM – expressed his displeasure at the defectors and justified his decision to remove them from his cabinet.He reassured the Special Envoy he and the DC still has the requisite majority to govern and that there will be no mass exodus from the ABC to the BAP and how Lesotho was on track to implement any outstanding reforms.
  • The DPM – reiterated the DC’s commitment to the coalition government as long as ABC stay united and discussed issues related to the reform process.
  • The BAP’s Mahao – blaming the ABC and its leader for a litany of problems and his expulsion and how, in his opinion, his removal from government would be a loss for the reform process.

While the new political developments playing out in Lesotho may involve new actors, the root causes remain the same. Weak institutions and a deficit of good governance persist, coupled with selfish political interests for economic gain at the expense of the citizenry. Can we really, therefore, be surprised that the kingdom finds itself in this situation again, and so soon? If reforms are not expeditiously implemented, we cannot be surprised if the country arrives at a similar junction after the 2022 election.  The formation of coalitions based solely on gaining access to power and influence are doomed and Lesotho has demonstrated this time and time again.

In short, the SADC Facilitator should ensure he has a dedicated team focussing on Lesotho to assist all parties in the kingdom to preserve and secure all progress made towards attaining the goal of implementing the much needed reforms. All efforts should be made to ensure the ruling coalition does not collapse before the general elections in 2022. This will assist in reducing the trust deficit while also creating a conducive peaceful environment during the upcoming election period and the holding of free, fair and credible elections.

This article appeared in Mail & Guardian on 12 May: https://mg.co.za/opinion/2021-05-12-lesothos-political-impasse-a-case-of-deja-vu/

Dr Craig Moffat is Head of Programme: Governance Delivery and Impact at Good Governance Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

SADC technical deployment to Mozambique

Has Zimbabwe changed SADC’s messaging approach?

It has been two weeks since the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Double Troika Summit was held in Maputo, Mozambique, on 8 April 2021. The meeting “directed an immediate SADC Organ technical deployment to the Republic of Mozambique”. The technical deployment team is expected to report back to an Extraordinary Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ by 28 April 2021, who in turn will report to the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit to be held in Mozambique on 29 April 2021.

All this may seem fairly straightforward, but as has been the norm, SADC has again failed to share details of the exact purpose and composition of the technical team deployed. What has been shared is they have “affirmed that such heinous attacks cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate regional response”.

As has become the norm, one has to read between the lines of the communique issued at the conclusion of such “close-door” meetings. As most analysts and political commentators know, the value of a communique is that it allows a slight peek into the meeting room. As it is only a slight peek into the deliberations, we are left to assume and draw our own conclusions as to the discussions that led to specific decisions being adopted. At best, the communique corroborates certain public opinions, without much real evidence. This practice often leads to undue speculation, resulting in many unsubstantiated claims being made by experts with no direct access to the “closed-door” meeting. The SADC leaders and the Secretariat should be cautious, as this practice of only providing a slight peek into the decisions adopted more often tends to drive a wedge between them and their citizenry. This is exacerbated by the many unsubstantiated speculative claims presented by various experts with no SADC mechanism in place to offer verification and clarification leading to undue confusion and growing mistrust.

A woman sits on the floor while waiting for her son to arrive in Pemba on April 1, 2021, from the boat of evacuees from the coasts of Palma. – More than a thousand people evacuated from the shores of the town of Palma arrived at the sea port of Pemba after insurgents attacked Palma on March 24, 2021. Photo:  Alfredo Zuniga/AFP

When reading recent statements by the SADC Chair of the Organ, President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana or President Emmerson Mnangagwa, it is clear that there appears to be a change in the regional leaders’ diplomatic tone and language with regards to the insurgency in northern Mozambique. As I have claimed before, this change in language can be traced back to the 27 November 2020 Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit communique. Previously, the language used in earlier communiques tended to be more measured and expressed with a more diplomatic tone. However, this older approach seems to have lost momentum. As expressed in the 27 November 2020 communique, the heads of state again “directed an immediate SADC Organ technical deployment to the Republic of Mozambique”, calling for immediate action as opposed to leaving it up to the prerogative of Mozambique to consider the next step. This change in language could be sterner diplomatic speech from the regional leaders, expressing their frustration at the lack of action to remedy the situation and are not prepared to continuing waiting on Mozambique to lead the effort in finding a lasting solution to the insurgency.

An interesting development that took place immediately after the 8 April Extraordinary Double Troika Summit was the curious and unexpected utterances from President Mnangagwa. He tweeted about the outcome of the meeting even before SADC had released their communique. This behaviour can be considered out of the norm as decisions are rarely, if ever, openly discussed by any SADC leader at least not before the release of the communique. He then went further and stated in an interview that:

“First, we had the Troika itself, which sat and adopted the recommendations of the Ministers of Defence and Security which, in the main, included the need to have SADC take responsibility in dealing with the threat in Cabo Delgado, in the sense that SADC, through its Force Intervention Brigade — our SADC force — should be resuscitated and capacitated immediately so that it can intervene … Later on we had the Double Troika, which then brings on board the outgoing chair, Tanzania, and the incoming chair, Malawi. The Troika submitted its report to the Double Troika, and the Double Troika endorsed the decisions of the Troika. Yes, what is happening now is that the defence and security chiefs have the responsibility of implementing the decisions of the Double Troika.”

President Mnangagwa’s declaration is remarkable in that it may be the first time the public has been granted more than a slight peek into the inner workings and decision making processes of closed door SADC meetings. He revealed in more detail than the communique the approach SADC leaders considered in formulating a regional response to the insurgency. It sheds more light on what “a proportionate regional response” may look like in addressing the insurgency threat in northern Mozambique.


The FIB was first conceived as an arm of the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO) and is composed of troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi. During the November Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit, SADC “accepted the proposal by the United Nations to realign the current Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) troops strength to create the headroom for the Quick Reaction Forces (QRFs), and generate two QRFs from the SADC Troops Contributing Countries”. Therefore, one can assume a deployment of this nature may be on the table for discussion during the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit on 29 April 2021.

Going forward, President Mnangagwa’s revelations, may have provided analysts and political commentators with a source of information, which in turn may curb the tendency to publish wild unsubstantiated speculative opinions pieces which do not bode well for building trust. Whether his actions were deliberate or not, the consequence of it are positive as it may go some way in decreasing the trust deficit between SADC and its citizens. Inadvertently, his utterances may also have shed new light on the ability of our SADC leaders to formulate well thought out regional responses to curb the insecurity. The main regional implication of non-action is the very real threat that the insurgency may expand and gain a foothold in neighbouring states. Having shared SADC’s response plans at hand, it may be something the SADC Secretariat should learn from and to adopt an approach of sharing more in their communication with the public.  As SADC citizens we can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that our regional leaders are indeed formulating and will soon to be implementing a proportionate regional response to the insurgency in northern Mozambique. We can only hope the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit on 29 April 2021 will provide us with more information than simply a slight peek.

 

 

 

 

Call for a National Dialogue in Zimbabwe

Reviewing the foundation for a meeting of minds

A recent op-ed by Dr Ibbo Mandaza, director of the SAPES Trust, called for a paradigm shift to achieve reform in Zimbabwe, a country clearly in deep crisis. One of the options he proposed was a call for a National Dialogue process. The purpose of this piece is to expand on factors to consider for calling for such a process. National Dialogues are defined as “nationally owned political processes aimed at generating consensus among a broad range of national stakeholders in times of deep political crisis, in post-war situations or during far-reaching political transitions”¹. They may also be defined as broad-based, inclusive and participatory negotiation platforms involving all sectors of society brought together to negotiate and strengthen the social contract between citizens and the state.

Ibbo Mandaza is a Zimbabwean academic, author and publisher. He is convenor of the SAPES Trust Policy Dialogue Forum; and co-convener (with Tony Reeler) of the Platform for Concerned Citizens (PCC).

In recent years, we have witnessed several attempts to conduct National Dialogues as critical tools in the prevention of conflict and for managing political crisis and transitions. However, while there may be wide ranging inclusive buy-in amongst the different stakeholders, a limitation regarding conceptual clarity persists which in turn limits the likely success of the process. Agreeing on the objectives of a National Dialogue may seem like a straight forward exercise but if the foundation of the process is not correctly laid there will be fissures of concern later in the process.

According to the National Dialogue Handbook: A Guide for Practitioners the objectives of National Dialogues tend to be context dependent: “They may focus on a more narrow set of specific or substantive objectives (i.e., security arrangements, constitutional amendments, truth commissions, etc.), or on broad-based change processes, which may entail (re)building a (new) political system and developing a (new) social contract.” It is for the Zimbabwean stakeholders to decide and agree on the objective before the process commences. If this part of the process is not carefully considered it may result in contestation over who the included stakeholders are leading to mistrust, fear, nefarious agenda setting etc. The Handbook distinguishes between two main types of National Dialogue, identified according to the function they seek to fulfil:

  • A shorter-term endeavour, undertaken strategically as a means to resolve or prevent the outbreak of armed violence
  • Key aims: breaking political deadlocks and re-establishing minimal political consensus, while further reform and steps toward change can be negotiated
  • Key characteristics: with more limited mandates, these tend to be smaller in size and shorter in duration. They are often easier to manage due to the restricted number of actors who may be involved, but also may reflect a less inclusive structure, whereby broad-based societal buy-in for desired changes can be difficult to generate.

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (3rdL) shakes hands with leaders of political parties who contested him in the last presidential elections after a dialogue meeting hosted at the State House in Harare on February 6, 2019. Photo: Jekesai Njikizana/ AFP

National Dialogues as mechanisms for fundamental change

  • Efforts with a longer-term trajectory, envisioned as a means to redefine state-society relations, or establish a new ‘social contract’
  • Key aims: far-reaching institutional and constitutional changes
  • Key characteristics: broad mandate and often fairly large in size. Seeking to include large strata of society and generate widespread support. They are confronted with the challenges of managing large-scale processes.

In the case of Zimbabwe, it may be wise to adopt a more hybrid model incorporating elements from both approaches as it may be more relevant for a longer sustained political solution. As stated, the political context in which the implementation of a National Dialogue takes place has a direct impact on the success of the process. Huma Haider, an independent research consultant, lists the following as factors to be considered:

  • Political will: the greater the level of political will and elite agreement on the way forward, the greater the likelihood of successful outcomes and implementation.
  • Links to other transitional processes: National Dialogues need to be embedded in larger change processes in order to promote real structural change. If disconnected to other political processes, such as constitution-making, they are likely to be counter-productive.
  • Common ground among parties: the absence of diametrically opposed political camps can make it more likely to arrive at a common view or shared objectives in dialogue, allowing for the process to move forward. In contrast, drastically different views can exacerbate distrust and stall the process.
  • Public buy-in: public support or lack thereof can enable or constrain progress in the National Dialogue process. The degree of buy-in is influenced by the availability of public information, good communication, and media engagement – all of which affect the level of transparency and understanding of the process.
  • Learning from past experience: National Dialogues have benefitted from dialogue expertise and learning from past National Dialogues.
  • The role of external actors and national ownership: support (e.g. political, financial and technical support) or resistance of external actors can influence the degree of success of national dialogues. It is important to strike a balance between external support and national ownership. The latter can increase the likelihood of public buy-in, perceptions of legitimacy – and chances of implementation.

Haider also states that in conjunction with political context factors, design or process factors are important, as these play a role in influencing the likelihood of reaching sustainable agreements. Key process factors include:

  • The degree of inclusion and participation: the vast majority of literature on this subject emphasises that the transformative potential of national dialogues can only be realised if they are genuinely inclusive of society. In order to be truly inclusive, it is necessary to help balance power asymmetries and ensure actual decision-making power. Highly inclusive and participatory national dialogues may render discussions unwieldly, however, and make it difficult to resolve key political questions. The success of national dialogues can depend in large part on finding the right equilibrium between efficiency and inclusiveness.
  • Representation and selection criteria: established selection criteria and procedures for participants in national dialogues can support or hinder the broad representation of different social and political groups. Transparency in the criteria is significantly important.
  • Objective and scope-setting: it is important to avoid overburdening mandates and agendas. It can be challenging to strike a balance between the breadth of the mandate, efficiency and independence. While a narrower mandate can be more manageable and efficient, it can limit the room for change and may contribute to the persistence of an elite-led process. Clarity and relevance to local populations are key characteristics to adopt in deriving a suitable mandate and agenda. Addressing development issues and peace dividends at the outset can be important to the success of national dialogues.
  • Institutional framework and support structures: a comprehensive support structure of important actors close to competing parties can help participants to be prepared (with the necessary expertise and tools), to compromise and to build coalitions, allowing them time to agree on common positions. Such structures do not, however, necessarily improve the quality of participation or guarantee implementation.
  • Role of authority figures: a credible, broadly accepted, independent, respected and charismatic convenor, mediator or facilitator can significantly affect the strength of the national dialogue, indicating seriousness and trust in the process.
  • Decision-making procedures: these can enable or constrain the ability of national dialogues to reach an agreement and implement it. While consensus can help to expand agendas and to include often excluded voices, an inability to reach consensus can benefit the more established forces, as the absence of movement can mean preserving the status quo. Consensus-based decision-making needs to be complemented by other pragmatic mechanisms where deadlocks can be broken, such as the use of working groups.
  • Confidence-building measures: national dialogues must be accompanied by a series of steps to attenuate tensions, in order to establish a level of “working trust” to engage in a meaningful dialogue. Trust-building is important throughout all phases in order to ensure that agreements are also implemented.
  • Provision for implementation: it is necessary to ensure that sufficient funds for implementation, expertise and accountability mechanisms are in place, such that key actors may feel bound by what has been agreed. Transitional bodies and/or new institutions are often set up to implement the outcomes. Implementation can be tough if participants have made unrealistic decisions, if political will is absent, or if external actors fail to provide necessary support.

It is important to emphasise that even with all the above factors in place, the process can still fail if the commitment from those in power are merely a means to “demonstrate” a willingness  to participate in the process but are not fully vested as seen in previous efforts:

“They want to say put in place electoral reforms that will ensure that you lose and we win. And we’re saying no. That will never happen anywhere in a modern constitutional democracy, that a political party that has come into government on the back of a new negotiated constitution, on the back of a new negotiated Electoral Act, comes up with reforms that will reform it out of power. Because the reforms they’re talking about are clear codes to say come with reforms that will ensure that you’re out.” – Former Politburo member and Cabinet Minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo.


This is the difficulty, and at times immovable challenge, in setting up National Dialogues. If Zimbabwe is to succeed, it may require certain difficult conditions to be agreed upon before the process is implemented. This may be a stumbling block too heavy to move across the start line. Otherwise, it may end up being merely a process of going through the motions without a chance of real reforms being formulated and agreed on.

In short, if the National Dialogue process is to succeed, the following foundation strengthening factors must be applied:

  • if there is no trust in the stakeholders the process will fail before it starts
  • a neutral convenor must be accepted by all parties
  • the process must be insulated from undue political or external influence
  • insisting on transparency at all levels of the process
  • outcomes from the process must be acted on and directed to their relevant streams – policy, legislation or strategy.

¹ Marike Blunck et al., National Dialogue Handbook: A Guide for Practitioners; Berghof Foundation, 2017

Dr Craig Moffat is Head of Programme: Governance Delivery and Impact at Good Governance Africa.

SADC extraordinary summit on Cabo Delgado

Crisis meeting on the insurgency in Cabo Delgado

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) held an Extraordinary Double Troika Summit, in Maputo, Mozambique, on 8 April 2021 on measures to address terrorism in Mozambique.

The country’s northern province of Cabo Delgado has been plagued by about 300 insurgent attacks by extremists since 2017, culminating in the seizure in late March of the  town of Palma, threatening a multi-billion dollar Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) project.

Botswana President and Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, has described recent attacks as “an affront to peace and security, not only in Mozambique, but also in the region and the international community as a whole”.

The Extraordinary Double Troika Summit was preceded by the Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit and the following communique was issued afterwards.

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Below is an interview with GGA’s head of Governance Delivery and Impact on SADC’s role in the unfolding events in Mozambique.

Dr Craig Moffat is Head of Programme: Governance Delivery and Impact at Good Governance Africa.
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