26 March 2019

Africa: Decolonising Africa's Last Colony - South Africa and Morocco Exchange Verbal Fire Across the Continent

Photo: GCIS
South Africa and Namibia co-host the SADC Solidarity Conference on Western Sahara in Pretoria.

Rival conferences at either end of Africa 'debate' the thorny Western Sahara issue - one evidently trying to delegitimise the other.

South Africa and its continental rival Morocco engaged in duelling conferences on the thorny issue of the Western Sahara on Monday.

South Africa hosted a solidarity conference organised by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which fully backed Western Sahara's right to independence from Morocco, as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

On Tuesday President Cyril Ramaphosa and six other African heads of state or government - Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic's President Brahim Ghali, Namibia's Hage Geingob, Lesotho's Tom Thabane, Uganda's Yoweri Museveni, Botswana's Mokgweetsi Masisi and Zimbabwe's Emmerson Mnangagwa as well as Algeria's deputy prime minister Ramtane Lamamra are scheduled to address the conference which will seek ways to "decolonise Africa's last colony".

In an apparent bid to detract from this gathering, though, Morocco organised its own African ministerial conference in Marrakech at the same time. This rival conference clearly intended to delegitimise the Pretoria gathering by underscoring the point that the African Union had decided in 2018 that only the United Nations - and therefore clearly not SADC - should try to resolve the seemingly intractable Western Sahara...

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