ZIMBABWE will take over the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairmanship this year in August, a development that sits among the major highlights of 2024 for the country.
On the back of general elections in 2023 and a busy schedule for the Second Republic which implemented several developmental projects in 2023, Zimbabwe is set for other major events this year.
The country will go for by-elections on the 3rd of February following squabbles in the opposition political outfit, Citizens Coalition for Change which prompted the interim secretary general Sengezo Tshabangu to recall some legislators from parliament.
Preparations for the elections are underway, with political parties on the ground canvassing for support.
In the same month, President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to attend the Africa Union summit to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as Zimbabwe looks to accelerate the engagement and re-engagement drive through meetings with potential investors, African Heads of State and other delegates such as the Secretary General of the United Nations.
In August, Zimbabwe will host the SADC summit at the New Parliament Building in Mt Hampden, during which President Mnangagwa will take over the reigns as chairman of the regional bloc.
During his New Year’s message, President Mnangagwa said the country’s assumption of the SADC chairmanship will see Zimbabwe consolidate its position as a key member of the bloc by presiding over key economic and political developments in the region.
He said, “On the diplomatic front, the election of Zimbabwe as incoming Chairman of the Southern African Development Community is both a recognition and honour to the nation as a founding member of the organisation.”
Still on the diplomatic front, Zimbabwe is awaiting the outcome of its application to rejoin the Commonwealth, as the country forges ahead with its engagement and re-engagement thrust.
Zimbabwe pulled out of the Commonwealth back in 2003 after a fallout with Britain, which was not happy with Zimbabwe’s move to correct colonial injustices through land re-distribution.
However, under the Second Republic, the country is engaging and re-engaging the international community after adopting the ‘friends to all and enemy to none’ philosophy.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ambassador Fredrick Shava recently told ZBC News that the outcome of Zimbabwe’s application to re-join the Commonwealth is expected early this year ahead of this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is scheduled to be held in Samoa in October.
“We have been engaging with certain countries and re-engaging with other countries as well. We have had a lot of meetings with the Commonwealth Secretariat and we are hoping that in the course of early 2024 or mid-2024, we should get an answer of what their verdict is,” said Ambassador Shava.
Zimbabwe is also expected to attend the BRICS summit in Russia later this year after making an application to the bloc.
BRICS, a grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, recently admitted five other nations: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Egypt into the bloc, which is increasingly gaining global economic influence.