THE Southern African Development Community (SADC) has begun a process of electing a new executive secretary as the incumbent, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax’s tenure comes to an end in August.
Dr Tax, who is a Tanzanian national, is the sixth SADC executive secretary, and first female to assume the post in the regional body following her appointment in August 2013.
Regarded as the ‘Iron Lady’ of the region due to her firm leadership credentials, Dr Tax has been vocal in advocating for the removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western countries and its allies at the instigation of Britain.
In 2019, she stood her ground to a barrage of abuse by anti-Zimbabwe activists on social media as she rejected claims that President Mnangagwa assumed office through a military coup, setting the record straight that SADC was only aware “of change of administration that was extensively celebrated and supported by nationals”.
Under her leadership, the SADC bloc has reinforced its support for Zimbabwe resulting in declaration of October 25 as solidarity day against illegal sanctions and resolved to conduct various activities in their respective countries on that day to resoundingly call for the immediate removal of the sanctions.
Dr Tax has led and participated in numerous regional integrations, bilateral, as well as multilateral processes, programmes and negotiations, and has contributed to the development and implementation of continental and global developmental agendas.
In the area of peace and security, she has coordinated and led a number of SADC conflict prevention, resolution and mediation processes, as well as democracy consolidation processes.
The process to replace Dr tax was discussed during the Extra-ordinary SADC Council of Ministers Meeting in Maputo, Mozambique on Tuesday where Acting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, represented Zimbabwe. The meeting was a precursor to today’s Extra-Ordinary Heads of State and Governments Summit also held in Maputo.
“Ministers were also updated on progress in the recruitment of the next executive secretary of SADC. As you are aware, the second term of office of the current executive secretary ends on 31 August 2021,” said Prof Murwira in a statement today.
“Two candidates from Botswana and the DRC were interviewed for the post on 10 June 2021 and a full Report and recommendations will be submitted to our next meeting and subsequently to the Heads of State and Government Summit in August 2021.”
Dr Tax has expertise and experience in regional integration (socio-economic; politics, peace and security), trade and industrial development, finance, investment and private sector development.
During her tenure she has successfully led the development and implementation of various SADC blueprints. – Chronicle