The role of Southern African Development Community (SADC) in promoting democracy and good governance in Zimbabwe
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a regional body comprising 15 member states namely Angola, Botswana, Democratic republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Eswatini, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. It was founded on the 17th August 1992 (SADC, 1996). Together with other regional bodies such as the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS), African Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and others, the SADC formed a part of the African Union (AU) in the African continent. The goal of these multilateral organizations is to further socio-economic cooperation and foster regional peace and security. Many regional organizations have a democratic identity and are committed to act in accordance with the promotion of human rights, respecting the rule of law and practicing good governance within Member States. Good governance promotes freedom from anarchy, and fear of crime to provide stability and security for development and sustainable investment. The rule of law is a strong component of governance and important for sustainable development. It is said that in countries where good governance is present, higher levels of growth and investment through the protection of property rights are achievable (UNDP, 2014:2-6). There is a strong connection between good governance and development or between underdevelopment and poor governance. The researcher is motivated by the desire to see good governance practices and the rule of law taking centre stage in the SADC region. Good governance and democracy are significant components of economic growth and economic development. This region requires a strong regional body which is firm and decisive in its execution of its founding principles. The researcher is interested in finding out how peace and political stability are being adjudicated by SADC. Therefore, it is of essence to investigate the role of the SADC in promoting democracy and good governance in the region. There are challenges with good governance as well as socioeconomic and political issues in some countries within the SADC such as Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Democratic Republic of Congo and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland). The researcher will use Zimbabwe as a case study to evaluate the impact of the SADC in promoting democracy and good governance. The researcher is interested in finding out why Zimbabwe, a SADC member state continues to experience challenges on human rights issues and the rule of law. This study seeks to identify the nature of the challenges facing the SADC in promoting good governance and democratic practices in Zimbabwe. South Africa has a considerable number of illegal and legal immigrants from SADC countries such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho and other parts of the continent which points to a serious challenge with regards to issues of governance in those countries. The violent xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals of 2008 and 2015 exemplified reasons as to why South Africa cannot play a greater role in promoting the rule of law in the SADC as a leading power bloc in the region (Gwala, 2015:152). Illegal migration is a problem in the region and has a direct link to aspects of governance. The displacement of civilians in other parts of the region which has a direct negative impact on South Africa’s political and socio- economic transformation, points to the challenges facing the SADC in general (Carneson, 2011:15). In the period 2000-2019, there has been poor protection of the human rights of citizens in Zimbabwe and the kingdom of Lesotho has been characterized by no prospects of political stability in the near future, with Eswatini remaining the only absolute monarchy in the SADC region with a poor human rights protection record. In the DRC, national elections had to be postponed by more than two years. This was because former President Joseph Kabila made a decision to cling to power exceeding his two constitutionally permitted terms in 2016. This sparked a national political crisis resulting in countrywide protests (ACCORD, 2017: 14).