A slippery slope in Southern Africa

The news from southern Africa is certainly depressing. The region is experiencing a major backslide in democratic freedoms, further damaging the reputation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and its ability to bind its members to common values.

Recent restrictions on civil society in the region, whether through regressive laws, policies or vigorous persecution of activists, fly in face of the SADC treaty which calls upon its 14 members to uphold human rights and the rule of law and promote common political values through democratic, legitimate and effective institutions. This current reality on the ground is causing human rights defenders to question whether it is time to write the obituary for SADC as a body committed to progressive, pro-human rights values. Continue reading

‘Yes we must!’ Not ‘Yes we can!’

Last week, in my role as CIVICUS’ Gender and Diversity Mainstreaming Officer, I attended the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance meeting and the re-launch 50/50 campaign in Harare, Zimbabwe. The following are my reflections from the event.

The recent meeting in Zimbabwe was hosted by Genderlinks and Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU) to learn how countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region have been taking the gender agenda forward, to share the gender barometer and to learn about the 50/50 campaign for gender parity in government. With a keynote address by Dr. Olivia Muchena, the Zimbabwean Minister for Woman Affairs and Community Development, the meeting was attended by members of the SADC Gender Protocol Governance Cluster, partners of Genderlinks and WIPSU and local government officials. Continue reading