The SADC Council of Non Governmental Organizations has called for transformation of SADC saying it needs to embrace democracy in its operations and desist from being a club of Heads of State.
“Over the years SADC has behaved as if they are aloof and not accountable to the people. The closure of the SADC Tribunal is a case in point,” Executive Director Boichoko Ditlhake said.
Ditlhake said this during the launch of the SADC ‘We Want’ Campaign held at Crossroads Hotel in Lilongwe on Wednesday.
In this ‘SADC We Want’ the NGOs have targeted three specific demands, a call for an establishment of a SADC Parliament by 2015, a Regional Court of justice and the complete ratification of the protocol on the facilitation of movement of the people.
The NGOs also called for the election by representatives of all SADC countries of the SADC Executive Secretary saying the current closed-door system of appointment is prone to abuse.
“We have not accessed reports of how the SADC secretariat has been utilizing resources. There greater need to democratize the institutions and make Heads of State accountable,” said Ditlhake.
In addition, briefing SADC journalists in Lilongwe, President of the Southern Africa Peoples Solidarity Network, Dr. Collins Magalasi agreed with Ditlhake that SADC is dancing to the tune of the IMF, EU and World Bank hence was on the verge of losing its people.
“There is fear that SADC is becoming a department of these multilateral institutions. There is need to inject peoples’ voices into the policy making of the institutions. When SADC was formed 13 years ago it was not a community and not a club,” Magalasi said.
While SADC Cross Border Traders Association Executive Director Dr. Francis Ng’ambi said, the arbitrary closure of the SADC Tribunal meant that there would no longer be justice in the region.
“SADC without people will not be the same again. The fact that to date SADC is dependent on donors and not member states finances should be cause for concern,” he said.