Mugabe's Sadc reign ends

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday flew out to Botswana to join other Heads of States at the 35th Sadc summit where he will relinquish his region’s chairmanship post.

The development could be a relief to cash-strapped government and the nonagenarian himself who has clocked more than 140 00km of travelling mostly on official business which include  the African Union’s and Sadc.

Mugabe, 91, is expected to hand the rotating chair to Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama,  two years after the regional bloc controversially endorsed the outcome of disputed elections in Zimbabwe that extended Mugabe’s rule by another five years.

The retired general Khama, 62, born to a white mother in the English village of Ewell in Surrey and Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana’s first post-independence leader; is stepping in as Sadc chairman to deal with the festering Madagascar and Lesotho crisis that has vexed Mugabe and South Africa President Jacob Zuma, who is the chairperson of the Sadc organ on politics, defence and security co-operation.

Khama, who is constitutionally obliged to step down as Botswana president in 2018, is one of the few African leaders who has stood up to dictators in the sub-region, and seemingly escaped the “resource curse”, as Botswana’s diamond wealth is converted into generous social welfare.

Khama, who remains single, will head the bloc, founded 35 years ago, over the next 12 months and will host all meetings of the regional bloc over the next year, including at the heads of State level, extraordinary summits and meetings of the Council of Ministers.

He has emerged as one of Mugabe’s harshest critics in Africa. Mugabe’s government has accused Khama of “interference” and scoffed at his call for fresh elections after the contested 2013 vote as an “act of extreme provocation”.

Khama’s initial task at the helm of the regional bloc will be to help defuse a deep crisis in the French colony of Madagascar where parliamentarians were blocked by the Constitutional Court in June from voting to impeach President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and in Lesotho where a former army chief and key ally of Lesotho’s former leader Thomas Thabane, who is a bitter rival of current army chief Tlali Kamoli, was shot dead in May, sparking instability in the small mountainous kingdom.

Mugabe, who as Sadc chair failed to ease tensions in Lesotho, has said he is “very concerned” about the latest developments there, as fears mount that the country might plunge into renewed political violence after Thabane lost a tight election in March to current Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, who promptly reinstated his sacked ally as leader of the armed forces.

Comments (8)

If Mugabe had been a CEO of a company, he would have been fired 25 years ago. It's bizarre that he has spent the last 30 years telling the world what to do, blaming everyone for Zimbabwe's problems, and not doing the job he is paid to do (lead Zimbabwe).

david taylor - 16 August 2015

Appointing Mugabe to chair SADC and the AU does not bode well for the future of Africa. In effect it signals a clear message that these organisations, both of whom represent the voice of Africa and Africans approve of leaders who commit acts of genocide, oppress their people, steal elections, allow massive corruption and totally destroy their economy thereby creating massive unemployment and forcing its citizens to flee to other countries in search of work? Mugabe might like to strut around posing as someone endowed with great leadership skills who single handedly managed to free Africa from the shackles and chains of colonialism, whereas if the man possessed any decency and aeven the slightest bit of basic common sense none of us would be facing the tragedy and great suffering that has befallen us? Brings me to the conclusion that both SADC and the AU are in desperate need of some major adjustments otherwise we are all surely doomed to even worse hardships?

Thunder Storm - 17 August 2015

Just like Saul in the bible whom God rejected, Mugabe was rejected a decade ago by the people of Zimbabwe but he held on to power . Just like David, Tsvangirai did not resort to violence to remove Mugabe even at a time in 2008 when he won the election and the results taking a month to be released. God's time will bring the best for Zim and its people.

Big Meech Larry Hoover - 17 August 2015

Crazy Africa. I am happy that Mugabe will never lead sadc again

S Dodzo - 17 August 2015

i wonder how khama will deal with issues of migratition and african renaissance in the block and above all making the sadc region an economically competitive block ,is he going to be willing to spend desert diamonds in intervention programmes as mbeki ,mugabe have done in the past wil very interesting to see if his leadership qualities will stand up to leaders amonst many zuma,mugabe who have brought liberation to their countries

Dube 1 - 18 August 2015

Congratulations to Pres Khama. What a relief to have a man of integrity and honesty and good old fashioned common sense.

TruthBTold - 18 August 2015

keep me updated

gilbert makamu - 19 August 2015

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