PRESIDENT Mnangagwa will tomorrow end his successful tenure as Southern African Development Community (Sadc) chairperson for the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, and pass the baton to his Botswana counterpart President Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi at the 40th SADC Heads of State summit that will be held virtually.
Zimbabwe will not be on the agenda, despite attempts by the country’s detractors to paint the image of a crisis in the country and force the regional bloc to table Harare.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail yesterday, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said the agenda of the summit had been set, with the “primary focus being to facilitate the handover of chairmanship of the SADC Summit from the United Republic of Tanzania to the Republic of Mozambique”.
He said the summit will be held under the theme, “40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges”.
Dr Moyo said as outgoing chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, President Mnangagwa will table a report to highlight his tenure which began in August 2019.
“In line with the organisation’s principle of rotation, the Republic of Mozambique will take over from the United Republic of Tanzania as Chair of Summit. The Republic of Botswana will assume chairmanship of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation from the Republic of Zimbabwe,” said Dr Moyo.
“The Summit will also elect new deputy chairpersons of the SADC Summit and the SADC Organ who will then assume chairmanship in August 2021. The Summit will receive a report from the outgoing chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. In his report, he will outline the key activities of the Organ during Zimbabwe’s tenure, covering the period of August 2019 to August 2020.”
Dr Moyo said other items on the summit agenda include the socio-impact of Covid-19 and its implications on the region and the recruitment of a new executive secretary as the tenure of the incumbent, Dr Stergomena Lawrence ends next year.
Asked about the situation in Mozambique, which is currently experiencing disturbances perpetrated by ISIS-linked Islamist insurgents and whether recent reports that Maputo had specifically asked for Zimbabwe’s military assistance were true, Dr Moyo said: “On 19 May 2020, Zimbabwe convened an Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit plus Mozambique which specifically focused on the security situation in the Republic of Mozambique.
“That meeting was an important milestone in the efforts to address the challenges in Cabo Delgado. More importantly, it was a demonstration of the fact that the matter was not a problem of Mozambique alone but a regional concern which called on all SADC member states to join forces to deal with the terrorism situation.”
He said Zimbabwe, in its capacity as chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, has been championing a regional approach to address the terrorism threat and has confidence in the capacity of regional security institutions to deal with the matter.
Zimbabwe and the rest of the region, said Dr Moyo, are unequivocal in their support and solidarity with the Republic of Mozambique.
Tomorrow’s main summit was preceded by meetings of Ministers and senior officials to clear the path for the Heads of State.
During his tenure as chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, President Mnangagwa received plaudits from his regional colleagues for successfully mediating in regional security issues such as the situation in Lesotho and most recently the boundary dispute between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. – Sunday Mail