THE removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western world will not only benefit Zimbabwe, but the whole region, outgoing SADC chairperson Tanzanian President, Dr John Magufuli, said on Monday.
Delivering his address at the 40th SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, virtually hosted by Mozambique the incoming chair, Dr Magufuli praised President Mnangagwa, the outgoing chairperson of the Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation (SADC Troika), for his exemplary leadership.
The virtual meeting, that was attended by 14 Heads of State or Government and two representatives from Mauritius and Comoros, was held under the theme “SADC 40 years Building Peace and Security and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global challenges”.
President Mnangagwa led a delegation that included ministers and senior Government officials during the virtual meeting attended by Heads of State or Government from Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho. Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, Eswatini, Seychelles and Zimbabwe.
Dr Magufuli said one of the achievements during 2019, was the unity displayed by SADC member states, which collectively denounced sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western world bringing suffering on the general populace.
The SADC denunciation of the sanctions culminated in the adoption of October 25 as a solidarity day by African states to call for the unconditional lifting of the economic embargoes.
“During the 39th summit, we passed the resolution to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe which were imposed since 2001. In that resolution we approved October 25 of every year to be a special day against sanctions in Zimbabwe where member states will be conducting various activities including preparing dialogues and declarations against the sanctions on Zimbabwe,” he said.
Dr Magufuli said SADC member countries also spoke against sanctions during the United Nations meetings and other international platforms as a way of demonstrating support to Zimbabwe.
He said last year the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe was removed from the sanctions list in a positive sign of what a united region can achieve.
The sanctions, Dr Magufuli said, hurt children and women the most and therefore world nations should join hands in calling for their removal.
“It is my strong belief that our nations will benefit if sanctions on Zimbabwe are lifted. It will offer an invaluable contribution not only to Zimbabwe but to the entire continent. These are some of the achievements we have been able to achieve during the past year,” Dr Magufuli said.
Turning to regional peace, particularly flash points in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Lesotho, Dr Magufuli said President Mnangagwa, as Chairperson of the SADC Troika, worked hard in finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts.
“For the past year, the issue of security continued to reign in our community with some of the conflicts in our area including DRC and Lesotho. It is impressive to say that the Chairperson of SADC Troika, my brother President Emmerson Mnangagwa worked hard through his efforts to seek a permanent solution in the DRC,” he said.
SADC executive secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax also applauded President Mnangagwa for exemplary leadership during the past year.
The summit elected Mozambican President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi as the chairperson of SADC and Malawian President Dr Lazarus Chakwera as the incoming SADC chairperson for 2021, while Botswana president Mokgweetsi Masisi was elected chairperson of Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation with South African president Cyril Ramaphosa elected as the incoming chairperson of the Organ on Politics Defence and Security Co-operation in 2021.
In his acceptance speech President Nyusi said he was going to perform his duties with humility and a high sense of responsibility.
“We commit to fulfil the mission and obligations of SADC and we count on the support of every member state and SADC Troika. We will consult starting from now,” he said.
He saluted the founders of the regional bloc, set up in 1980 as a development of the Frontline States and expanded as more countries in the region became independent or democratic, for their contribution towards the political and economic independence of the region.
The summit approved the SADC vision 2050 which is based on a firm foundation of peace, security and democratic governance and is premised on three interrelated pillars: industrial development and market integration, infrastructure development in support of regional integration and social and human capital development.
The three pillars recognise gender, youth and environment and climate change and risk management important cross cutting components.
Hopefully, next year’s summit will be a face to face meeting if the world manages to decisively deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.