ZIMBABWEAN president Emmerson Mnangagwa has been applauded for his leadership and effort to ensure regional peace and stability in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
This is despite the humanitarian crisis unfolding in his country.
Over the past few months, Zimbabwe has experienced massive civilian arrests, kidnappings and the harassment of activists and journalists who participated in recent protests triggered by the government’s poor service delivery, ineffectiveness and the corruption of the ruling class.
Mnangagwa last month warned he would flush out opposition critics, whom he claims are weakening his administration.
Zimbabwe, through its president, chaired the SADC’s organ for politics, defence and security cooperation – a formal institution with the mandate to support the achievement and maintenance of security and the rule of law in the SADC region – from August 2019 to August 2020.
The SADC’s executive secretary, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, during the virtual summit of the heads of state and governments yesterday applauded Mnangagwa for his exemplary leadership.
Tax said Mnangagwa “diligently and outstandingly” steered the work of the regional body during his tenure.
“We thank your excellency for your leadership, and for the excellent work done by your team led by lieutenant general (retired) Dr Sibusiso Moyo as chairperson of the ministerial committee of the organ,” Tax said.
Mnangagwa ensured that the SADC remains a beacon of peace, security and stability, strengthened by democracy and good governance, he said.
“In a bid to enhance peace and security in the SADC region, the secretariat conducted an assessment of emerging security threats in the region. The findings show that, while the security landscape in the SADC region remains stable,” Tax said, she acknowledged there are areas requiring reinforcement to address emerging threats in the region.
Tax said the threats are related to terrorism and cybersecurity, transnational organised crime, climate change and disasters, governance and democracy, and cross-cutting issues.
She urged SADC members to prioritise implementing measures to combat terrorism, violent attacks and cybercrime; to address the adverse effects of climate change; and to mitigate external interference and the impact of fake news and the abuse of social media – especially in electoral processes.
At yesterday’s virtual meeting, Tanzanian president John Magufuli handed over SADC chairmanship to his Mozambican counterpart Filipe Nyusi.
Magufuli took over from his predecessor, president Hage Geingob, last year.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s 40th SADC summit took place virtually under the theme ’40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges’.
Tax said the theme of this year’s summit consolidates the progress registered over the past 40 years, and is in line with the proposed SADC Vision 2050, which foresees a peaceful, inclusive, middle to high-income industrialised region.
Geingob also attended yesterday’s opening ceremony.
The 40th summit recognised concerns regarding instability in two of its member states, including the recent crisis of jihadi militant attacks at Mozambique’s port of Mocimboa da Praia, a city in the northern Cabo Delgado province.
The summit expressed solidarity with Mozambique and commended its government for its continued efforts to combat tourism in the country.
In addition, the summit expressed gratitude to the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) troops for leading peace efforts and security in the eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have been plagued by conflict and acts of terror by rebels.