SADC Heads of State meeting in Windhoek, Namibia postponed confronting Zimbabwe about non-compliance with the Tribunal’s ruling on land-reform for 6 months. Effectively, the decision is postponed until the next Summit meeting in 2011. In the meantime, the role of the SADC Tribunal will be reviewed.
The White farmers claimed that this is politics winning over justice. The entire situation is political however. Even the organization is political by its very nature but also specifically for historical reasons. SADC was previously the Front Line States, which was organised to coordinate liberation movements in Namibia and apartheid South Africa. August 17, 2010 was SADC Day and the Summit also celebrated the organisations 30th anniversary. Given that heritage it is could be considered amazing progress that the SADC Tribunal rendered the judgment it did in 2008, declaring the land reform program in Zimbabwe discriminatory based on race.
Furthermore, the Summit was an opportunity to recognise everything that has been accomplished by SADC in those 30 years. I do not have the time or inclination right now to gather the empirical evidence necessary (even if that evidence were available at all) to prove or disprove the accomplishments of SADC since its creation. Perhaps it was only ever effective as support for the liberation struggle. Perhaps 30 years is not actually enough time in ‘Africa time’. Perhaps the entire problem NOW with how the West views Southern Africa or sub-Saharan Africa is that both function at different speeds. Africa is making progress but it is not in a New York minute and the West may feel that an intervention of some kind will help to improve the velocity of the progress. But it doesn’t seem to work out like that. Instead, progress continues to be slow or slower and instead the West has intervened and created the industry of intervention called the donors and aid agencies. This industry is now a source of income for locals and not much progress happens. But the news and reports out of SADC are very positive, regardless.
SADC reported that HIV/Aids were on the decline in the region. It reported that there is peace and stability. SADC spent time during the Summit considering the situation in Madagascar and supported the call for the international community to stop the debilitating sanctions on Zimbabwe which have caused so much havoc for the economy. (tee hee) But still, SADC is trying to focus on attracting investment and this does seem to be the proper focus for our globalised economy …yada yada.
So everything is actually in order and how much should we really worry that the Tribunal is not respected in the region? The proper functioning of the SADC Tribunal may not really be a priority for anyone other than the White farmers……
Unfortunately, for those who think the Tribunal is not a priority there is a reality that can be observed which is demonstrated by the lack of certainty created when court rulings are discounted. Maybe courts are a neoliberal construction by the West , I don’t know.
I do know that a complete lack of certainty is bad whether it is legal, economic or social. As I have said before, fine don’t have a working legal system or a functioning government but at least get the women and children educated and healthy. Keep things simple and see if things improve.
I would love to see the Tribunal become a priority because it was not White judges who ruled against Zimbabwe and international sanctions don’t hurt anyone except the elite. I think all aid should stop and let things develop without intervention. But that can never be the reality either.
So, I am disappointed with the postponement of the discussion about the Tribunal. And, I am endeavouring to see things in the long term. Perhaps the SADC nations need 6 months to sort out that whole Tribunal protocol thing and in the meantime the judgments in South Africa allow the Zim properties there to be levied.
I think about my life, my PhD, my son and Africa and remember the Norah Jones song Broken,
“He's got a broken voice and a twisted smile,
Guess he's been that way now for quite awhile,
He's got blood on his shoes and mud on his brim,
Did he do it to himself or was it done to him?
He may move slow,
That don't mean he's going nowhere,
He may be moving slow,
That don't mean he's going nowhere.”