Mugabe to assume Sadc chair

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is assuming the chairmanship of the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (Sadc) next month, at a summit to be hosted in Victoria Falls, Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said.

Mumbengegwi told a news conference yesterday that all was set for the August 17 and 18 heads of State meeting.

Southern African leaders, who last July endorsed the re-election of the Zimbabwean veteran politician, brushing aside appeals from the opposition MDC who said the vote  was rigged, will enthrone Mugabe as the Sadc chair.

Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader at 90 years, is currently the vice chair.

Assumption of the chairmanship entails hosting and chairing the summit of heads of state and government, council of ministers meetings, standing committee of senior officials’ meetings and sectoral meetings.

Zimbabwe will also be expected to chair extra-ordinary meetings at summit, ministerial and at other levels.

Mumbengegwi told the news conference at the Munhumutapa offices in Harare that hosting the Sadc summit was an honour and privilege for Zimbabwe. “It is a great honour bestowed upon president Mugabe,” he said.

“What this means is that for the next three years, Zimbabwe will play an important role in the leadership of Sadc.

“The country has already played an important role as vice chairman of Sadc. When the chairman from Malawi was not around, president Mugabe chaired summit meetings.

“From August 2014 to August 2015, Mugabe will be chair and as an outgoing chairman from August 2015 to August 2016, Mugabe will be with the Sadc troika.”

The Sadc summit will be held at the Elephant Hills Hotel in Victoria Falls.
“Everything is in place, all logistics, transport and accommodation have been addressed,” he said.

“A national steering committee chaired by Dr Ray Ndhlukula, deputy chief secretary for modernisation and administration in the Office of the President and Cabinet, facilitates the coordination and mobilisation of all the stakeholders in preparation for hosting the summit on behalf of the secretaries,” he said.

The theme for this year Sadc’s summit is “Sadc strategy for economic transformation: leveraging the region’s diverse resources for sustainable economic and social development through beneficiation and value addition.”

At least 450 delegates are expected to attend the summit and 700 delegates are expected to grace the opening and closing sessions of the summit.

Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe and the Sadc secretariat came up with this theme as there was need for Sadc countries to fully exploit their natural resources so that they get maximum returns.

“The theme was selected very carefully,” he said.

“Zimbabwe believes in the beneficiation and value addition of our natural resources. You have heard president Robert Mugabe say we should always thrive for value addition on our natural resources.

“We are exporting our natural resources raw and we get about 10 percent of the value. We lose a lot and the issue of value addition is important for Sadc.”

The minister said the agenda for the summit has not been finalised but tentatively, the meeting will receive a number of reports and appoint a new deputy secretary for finance.

The summit will also tackle the political and economic situation in the region.

Comments (8)

A blind man leading an association of 15 countries? he guy cant even see or think anymore!

Tongogara - 17 July 2014

SADC and AU are a joke. The rest of the world including the so called all weather friends Chinese will always treat Africans with contempt until we put our house in order & stop tolerating rubbish.

Lt General - 17 July 2014

AU & SADC, loads of RUBBISH. Who cares what heads of corruption discuss?? We too don't care a hoot...

KUREMARA KWEPFUNGWA - 18 July 2014

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