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					                                       Southern Africa Development Community   1


                  Southern Africa Development Community




                                                    Southern Africa Development Community          2

                            Southern Africa Development Community
        According to Antoine P, Et al (2007) the only organization that encompasses all countries
of southern Africa is the Southern Development Community (SADC). Antoine P, Et al, state that
in 1979, various Southern African Countries, excluding South Africa, came together to form the
Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC). The purpose of the SADCC
was to reduce the dependence of Southern African states on the apartheid South African
economy and transport network. In 1992, the SADCC was transformed into Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to accommodate South Africa.
        According to Alfred and Tiyambe (2008) the objectives of the body at the time of its
formation included: to safeguard the people and development in the region against instability
arising from civil disorder, interstate conflict and external aggression; to undertake conflict
prevention, management and resolution activities by mediating in inter-state and intra-state
disputes and conflicts, pre-empting conflicts through an early warning system and using
diplomacy and peace-keeping to achieve sustainable peace; to promote the development of a
common foreign policy in areas of mutual interest; to develop close cooperation between the
police and security services of the region and to encourage the observance of human rights. The
organ’s principle state that disputes will be settled by negotiation, mediation and arbitration, and
that military intervention will be entertained only after all possible alternatives have been
pursued in accordance with the Charter of the OAU and the United Nations (SADC 1996).
Although the organization, according to Alfred & Tiyambe, recorded some success in mediating
conflicts in the Comoros and the DRC, the dream of a regional security community is still far
from being realized (Alfred G. Nhema & Tiyambe Zeleza, 2008).
        According to David J. Francis (2006) SADC’s preventive diplomacy and conflict
management strategy in the region has not been consistent, in particular its approach to intra-
state conflicts or political instability. It is worthy of note that the majority of SADC peacemaking
and conflict resolution diplomacies have been initiated by the political leaders. David notes that
on the political violence in Zimbabwe, SADC criticisms have noticeably muted. Even president
Mbeki’s ‘quiet diplomacy’ has been criticized for not speaking put against Mugabe’s state
sponsored violence. The explanation is that SADC states have an aversion to interference in
domestic conflicts, and that they have, during the anti-apartheid and liberation struggles, evolved
common political norms and cultures that avoid public criticisms of each other. These norms are
underpinned by the African Socio-cultural norm to avoid ‘washing dirty linen in public’.
Furthermore, most of the political leaders in the SADC have appalling human rights records and
dubious credentials in promoting democratic governance and the rule of law. According to
David, publicly criticizing Mugabe for his deplorable human rights records and sub-region of the
rule of law would, in their view, set a dangerous precedence, from which they will no longer be
immune. This possibly explains SADC’s muted criticism of Zimbabwe.
                                                 Southern Africa Development Community         3

       Antoine P, Et al (2007): Migration without borders: essays on the free movement of
people: Berghahn Books.
      Alfred G. Nhema & Tiyambe Zeleza (2008): The resolution of African conflicts: the
management of conflict resolution & post-conflict reconstruction: Ohio University Press.
      David J. Francis (2006): Uniting Africa: building regional peace and security systems:
Ashgate Publishing, LTD.