Darlington Musarurwa in DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania
Leaders attending the 39th Ordinary Summit of Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Heads of State and Government, which begins here today and ends tomorrow, will consider a resolution to push for the removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe, it has been learnt.
New chairman of the Sadc Council of Ministers, Mr Palamagamba Kabudi — who is also Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation — told the media ahead of the regional indaba that the resolution was one of 107 draft resolutions that will be tabled at the summit.
The Sadc Council of Ministers, comprising ministers of foreign affairs and finance from the 16 members states, are responsible for drawing up the summit agenda.
“The situation in Zimbabwe has normalised with the recent successful elections and a new political dispensation,” said Minister Kabudi.
Tanzanian President Dr John Magufuli will officially take over as chair of the bloc from Namibian President Hage Geingob.
Sadc believes the continued embargo on Harare by the United States of America and the European Union (EU) is now untenable, particularly in view of progress that the new political administration has made with its political and economic reforms.
President Mnangagwa, who will also assume the chairmanship of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation during the ongoing meeting, is presently on a mission to engage and re-engage the global community in order to integrate Zimbabwe into the global family of nations.
The President arrived here yesterday evening and was met at Julius Nyerere International Airport by Tanzania’s Minister of State in the President’s Office (Public Service and Good Governance) Mr George Mkuchika and Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the United Republic of Tanzania Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri also welcomed the President.
Zimbabwe was elected to chair the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, the Organ Troika, at a regional meeting in Namibia last year.
President Mnangagwa will take over the mantle from his Zambian counterpart President Edgar Lungu.
The Organ Troika yesterday convened a meeting at Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre — the venue of the summit — in the evening.
This year’s regional indaba is running under the theme: “A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-Regional Trade and Job Creation.”
It is the same theme that has been running for the past five years in the bloc’s 39-year history, especially ever since the region made a commitment to prioritise industrialisation after the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap (2016-2063) was adopted at an Extraordinary Summit held in Harare in 2015.
In a statement released before the summit, Foreign Affairs and International Trade spokesperson Mr Shepherd Gwenzi said the agenda of the summit includes receiving the report of the Sadc executive secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, for the period 2018 to 2019, which gives an overview of political and economic developments in the region and the implementation of programmes of regional cooperation and integration.
It also includes an update on regional economic integration and other regional programmes.
Focus will also be on the political and security situation in the region, especially the Kingdom of Lesotho.
“The following legal instruments will be opened for signature at Summit following their clearance and recommendation to Summit by the Committee of Ministers of Justice and Attorney-General: (a)Agreement Amending the Protocol on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and (b) Draft Agreement Amending Article 7 of the Protocol on Extradition,” Mr Gwenzi said.
Notably, the summit will also adopt Kiswahili as the fourth official language of the bloc.
Currently, the official languages of the 16-nation body are English, French and Portuguese.
Earlier in Harare, President Mnangagwa was seen was seen off at the Robert Mugabe International Airport by Vice-President Kembo Mohadi, Harare Metropolitan Minister Oliver Chidau, Minister of State Security Owen Ncube, chief secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services secretary Nick Mangwana, service chiefs and other senior Government officials.
He is accompanied by Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Muthuli Ncube, Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndhlovu, and deputy chief secretary Mr George Charamba among other senior Government officials.
Vice-President Mohadi is Acting President.