Geingob exposes 'agenda to divide'

27 March 2019 | International

President Hage Geingob says there is an agenda to divide Africa on the issue of independence for the Sahrawi people.

Speaking his capacity as SADC chairperson at the SADC Solidarity Conference with Western Sahara in Pretoria, South Africa yesterday, Geingob said divide-and-conquer tactics were also employed by the colonial powers.

“We should pause and ponder the question: Why do the people of Western Sahara not enjoy freedom in the same manner as the rest of Africa's people? I am aware of growing divisions on our continent on this issue. There is an agenda to divide, and by so doing, this renders our support for Western Sahara ineffective,” Geingob said.

He asked the delegates whether SADC, in its support of self-determination for the Sahrawi people, should not renew its approach.

He was also perturbed by a parallel meeting in Morocco.

“I remind this gathering that SADC was opposed to the admission of the Kingdom of Morocco into the AU fold. However, the majority of AU members felt it best for Morocco to be included in the AU fraternity, so that we can discuss this issue as brothers and sisters,” Geingob said.

“Now that the Kingdom of Morocco has been admitted into the AU fraternity, we thought that we will work together, at African Union and United Nations level, to ensure that like all of us, the people of Western Sahara can enjoy their inalienable right to independence and self-determination.”

Quoting Oliver Tambo, Geingob said the late African National Congress (ANC) stalwart had “envisioned the total liberation of Africa from colonial occupation and oppression. Although many African countries have achieved this feat, Western Sahara remains occupied to this day.”

Under the Agenda 2063 framework, “the people of Africa are in the process of establishing the Africa we want”, Geingob added, saying SADC was striving towards international solidarity in the cause of freedom for the Sahrawi people.

He said the seven strategic goals of Agenda 2063 cannot be achieved in the absence of the total freedom for all the continent's people, adding “the prolonged impasse on the Western Sahara issue will have grave consequences on the functioning of our union”. He said freedom is not a gift to bestow on the Sahrawi people, but that it is their birthright.

Geingob also mentioned the international solidarity that eventually led to Namibia's freedom.

“It is this solidarity and support that Swapo received from the international community that enabled us to sustain our near four-decade-long resistance and struggle for liberation, until we emerged triumphant… We have a moral imperative to stand in solidarity with our Sahrawi brothers and sisters until their right to self-determination is achieved.”

He urged the delegates to use the conference to develop and strengthen pan-African solidarity.

“Let us be committed and unwavering in our support to the people of Western Sahara. As we enjoy our hard-earned freedom and democracy, so should the Sahrawi people.”

Geingob reiterated SADC's support for the effective implementation of the Nouakchott decision, which set up the African mechanism to facilitate the search for a solution that is in line with the relevant African Union and UN Security Council resolutions.

STAFF REPORTER