Africa must refuse to be treated as second class – Chakwera

Lazarus Chakwera

RUSTENBURG – Africans have a duty to refuse to be treated as second class citizens, Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera told the 41st Ordinary Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government, in Lilongwe, Malawi.

“We as Africans have a moral duty to refuse second class status in the rules of engagement for participating in the global economy.

“So the time has come for us to work together to put the ratified African Free Trade Area to full use until the economic rules that disadvantage our nations are rewritten.

“We as Africans have a moral duty to refuse second class status in the restrictions we accept from outsiders for managing our own finances and resources,” said Chakwera.

Chakwera said African countries were full members of the global community, and should be treated equally including the distribution and production of Covid-19 vaccines.

“The time has come for us to insist that a vaccine that preserves and sustains a person’s basic right to life belongs to all nations, no matter who discovered it.”

He said at regional level like SADC, this meant recognising that true friends in the world are not those who are satisfied to see the region mired in poverty, so that they could sustain their messianic complex as the region’s benefactors and liberators.

“Our truest friends in this world are those who work side by side with us on increasing our productive capacities and turning our economies into engines for sustainable growth.

“It is our considered view that the SADC we want is untenable without levelling the playing field on Covid-19 pandemic, revitalising the agricultural sector, enhancing value addition, facilitating trade, and simplifying rules of origin,” said Chakwera.

Chakwera assumed the chairmanship of SADC, taking over from Flipe Nysusi, the president of Mozambique.

President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Felix Tshisekedi, was elected the incoming chairperson of SADC.

The 42nd summit would be held in the Democratic Republic of Congo in August 2022.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa was elected the chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, taking over from President Mokgweetsi Masisi.

President Hage Geingob of Namibia as incoming chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

Botswana head of public service, Elias Magosi was elected the executive secretary of SADC, taking over from Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax of Tanzania, whose term ends on August 31.

The summit reaffirmed SADC’s position that the creation of the SADC Central Bank and Monetary Union, as a long-term objective to be premised on fulfilling pre- conditions that include, the harmonisation of the fiscal and monetary policies of SADC countries, and greater convergence of banking systems.

The summit also received updates on the security situation in Cabo Delgado province, in northern Mozambique, and commended SADC member states for pledging troops and providing financial support towards the deployment of SADC Standby Force to Mozambique.

Tanzania offered to host the regional counter terrorism centre, which would offer dedicated and strategic advisory services to the region on terrorism threats.

SADC resolved to send troops to Mozambique, after Islamic state-backed terrorists launched an attack on the town of Palma in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, on March 24, killing at least 12 people– including a South African and a Zimbabwean. Over 100 000 people fled the area for safety.

Mozambique had a separate arrangement with Rwanda, who had sent a joint force of 1 000 soldiers and police to fight terrorism in Cabo Delgado.

The Rwandan force reported that they have driven out rebels in Mocimboa da Praia, a stronghold for rebels in northern Mozambique.

Rwanda government said the joint force would work closely with Mozambique Armed Forces and forces from SADC in designated responsibility, in support efforts to restore Mozambican state authority by conducting combat and security operations, as well as stabilisation and security-sector reform.

Mozambique had also a separate agreement with the EU to train and support the Mozambican armed forces in protecting the civilian population and restoring safety and security in the Cabo Delgado province.

The mission would provide military training including operational preparation, specialised training on counter-terrorism, and training and education on the protection of civilians and compliance with international humanitarian law and human rights law.

In June, SADC resolved to deploy troops to Mozambique in a push to repel terrorism and acts of violent extremist in Cabo Delgado.

The outgoing chairperson of the Organ Troika, Mokgweetsi Masisi, in April, said insurgency in Mozambique could lead to a spillover and ultimately instability in Southern Africa, if left unattended.

He said it was important for the SADC to intervene to prevent the three-year-old insurgency in northern Mozambique from spilling over the country’s borders.

African News Agency (ANA)