Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

19 August 2014

Southern Africa: All Quiet On the SADC Front

analysis

It was an uneventful SADC summit hosted by new chairman Robert Mugabe, although he didn't fail to stamp his personality on proceedings. Good news for President Zuma, however - he's got a new phallic title to add to his Spear of the Nation appellation.

The 34th annual summit of the Southern African Development Community concluded in Victoria Falls on Monday, with the various assembled diplomats and dignitaries returning home having achieved... well, not so much. "There were no political fireworks at the summit and no major resolutions," observed commentator Ray Ndlovu, writing in Business Day, which just about sums up this year's uneventful and, frankly, rather uninspiring edition of the regional talk shop.

Headlines were dominated, of course, by the appointment of a certain President Robert Gabriel Mugabe to the Chairman's office. In theory, at least, Zimbabwe's nonagenarian leader now speaks for all of us in southern Africa - a fact that has outraged rights organisations.

"SADC's commitment to human rights will come into question if Zimbabwe, as chair of the regional body, does not expedite the process of aligning its laws with the Constitution and state institutions do not live up to the regional and international...

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