The Zimbabwean president, frustrated with SADC's position on the Cabo Delgado crisis, caught his fellow leaders off guard when he unilaterally announced that the organisation's military force would intervene in the troubled province. Mnangagwa's statement was in sharp contrast to SADC's usually prudent language.
To cope with the growing international interest in the Southern African Development Community, where Russia has been building on Soviet-era ties, Vladimir Putin pulled out the big guns by appointing his main Africa expert, Andrey Kemarskiy, to the embassy in Gaborone.
Of all the directorates of the Southern African Development Community, the one charged with regional political, defence, and security issues is by far the most strategic. Headed by Angola's Jorge Cardoso, it has to humour the changing moods of the organisation's rotating presidents at a time when a SADC military response is increasingly expected in Mozambique's Cabo Delgado province.
As the only two SADC member states entitled to put forward a candidate for the post of executive secretary at the next summit scheduled for August, the DRC and Botswana are gearing up for a fierce battle to land the four-year appointment.
As the Southern African Development Community deals with its biggest security crisis of the past decade, Botswana has shown its aspirations by launching the race for the organisation's next secretary general with the nomination of its candidate: