Mugabe elected as SADC Chair

WINDHOEK: Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe is the new chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

He took over from Malawian president, Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.

The 34th Summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government also elected Botswana president, Lieutenant-General Seretse Khama Ian Khama as the deputy chairperson.

The summit was held in Victoria Falls, in Zimbabwe on 17 and 18 August 2014 under the theme “SADC Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Value Addition and Beneficiation”.

A communiqué issued after the summit on Tuesday said delegates elected South African president Jacob Zuma and the Lesotho’s Prime Minister Thomas Motsoahae as chairperson and deputy chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, respectively.

Zuma takes over from Namibian president Hifikepunye Pohamba.

The meeting commended Pohamba for successfully steering the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.

Meanwhile, the summit endorsed the decision by the last joint SADC- International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Ministerial meeting that the voluntary surrender and disarmament by the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in the Democratic Republic of Congo shall be done within a six-month time frame.

The Heads of State and Government also called upon the United Nations (UN) in co-operation with the African Union (AU) to play its role in repatriating the FDLR elements that have voluntarily surrendered and disarmed or provide them with temporary resettlement in third countries outside the Great Lakes Region.

On the Republic of Madagascar, the summit reaffirmed its commitment to support that country in the context of dialogue, national reconciliation and national-building processes, and appealed to the international community to support Madagascar in its development process.

Delegates then urged all stakeholders in Madagascar to adhere to and ensure full implementation of the SADC roadmap.

On the Kingdom of Lesotho, the summit encouraged the country’s Coalition Government leaders to continue to provide leadership in its effort to find a lasing political solution to the current impasse.

It further underscored SADC’s commitment to support the leaders and the people in general to refrain from any action which may undermine peace and stability in that country, and urged political stakeholders to resolve the political challenges in accordance with the Constitution, laws of the land in line with democratic principles.