SADC yesterday reiterated calls for the unconditional lifting of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and urged the world to support reforms that are underway. It commended President Mnangagwa for helping maintain peace and security in the region. This marks the third successive year for the anti-sanctions lobby after the initial declaration made at the 39th Summit of Heads of State and Government in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in 2019.
At the time, the regional body declared October 25 as Anti-Sanctions Day in solidarity with Zimbabwe. In a communiqué released yesterday at the end of the 41st Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, which was held in Lilongwe, Malawi, the 16-member body said Harare’s current reforms deserved support. “Summit reiterated its call on the unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on the Republic of Zimbabwe, and support (for) Zimbabwe in the ongoing socio-economic strengthening efforts,” read part of the statement. The African Union (AU) has added its voice to have the measures, which have been in place for the past 20 years, removed.
In her address on Tuesday, immediate-past Sadc executive chair, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said whenever the bloc proclaims its position in unity, just as it did during the years of struggle for liberation in Southern African countries, the world listens. Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax
Meanwhile, the summit commended regional countries, including Zimbabwe, that have pledged troops to deal with the insurgency affecting northern Mozambique. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) will contribute 304 specialist instructors to the SADC mission in Mozambique. To help coordinate efforts to monitor security threats that might possibly destabilise the region, the United Republic of Tanzania has since agreed to host the Regional Counter Terrorism Centre, which will offer dedicated and strategic advisory services to the region on terrorism threats.
As a recent member of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation responsible for maintaining peace and security in the region, Zimbabwe, together with Botswana and South Africa, helped come up with a solution to deal with terrorist attacks that have killed 2 500 people and displaced over 800 000 in Cabo Delgado.
New SADC chair, Malawian President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, yesterday thanked President Mnangagwa and his counterparts Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for their stewardship.
“Instability and insecurity are not only rare here, but are dealt with decisively through the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
“In that context, the decision made by this summit to have the United Republic of Tanzania host the Regional Counter Terrorism Centre under the SADC Regional Counter Terrorism Strategy and Action Plan is a step in the right direction. That Centre will be yet another demonstration of our resolve to give no room to terrorism and radicalism and to keep our community peaceful,” said President Chakwera.
“I must therefore commend His Excellency Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, and chairperson of the SADC Organ; His Excellency Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, and Outgoing Chairperson of the SADC Organ; and His Excellency Comrade Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for their vigilance in ensuring sustained peace and security in the region,” he said.
The Summit ended yesterday with the swearing in of Mr Elias Magosi from Botswana as the new Executive Secretary of SADC.
President Ramaphosa was elected chair of the Organ Troika, while President Hage Geingob of Namibia is the incoming chair. While the African Union Commission was criticised for unilaterally giving Israel Observer Status to the AU (which entails formally establishing ties with the continental body), SADC congratulated Zambia for successful elections. Outgoing Zambian President Edgar Lungu was commended for his contribution to the region during his tenure, including his decision to “nobly” accept the outcome of the elections.