Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has assumed the chairmanship of SADC.
He took over the chairmanship the regional bloc this afternoon from his Malawian counterpart, Professor Peter Mutharika at the 34th SADC Ordinary Summit underway in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
Accepting the chairmanship, President Mugabe said he is highly honoured to take the reigns of power for the next year and pledged to do his best to transform the regional grouping to its desired goals.
“As Zimbabwe, we look forward to making our contribution to the SADC agenda and we are confident that together we can ensure that the region focuses on interventions that have the greatest impact on the well-being of our citizens,” he said.
Mugabe also called on the regional grouping not to introduce too many programmes which the group will fail to finance on its own, adding that member states should not lose sight on the group’s integration agenda.
The new SADC Chairperson also went down memory lane and said something should be done to honour African great statesmen such as Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
President Mugabe also castigated those countries which claim to be of high morals and champions of democracy but have remained silent when Israel is bombarding Gaza, killing hundreds of innocent mothers, children and the elderly in the guise of fighting terrorism.
He said the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza where Israel also attacked hospitals, killed pregnant mothers and bombed hospitals and even United Nations units was criminal.
President Mugabe said Africans know what they want and should not be told what to do by foreigners who are not objective.
He also paid tribute to SADC for standing behind Zimbabwe during the time the country was being persecuted by the west and called for the immediate removal of sanctions on the country as they were in the first place not justified.
President Mugabe also launched the the Sadc Statistical Yearbook 2012 and the Hashim Mbita project publication.
He also awarded Mumhumutapa order of Merit to Rtd Brigadier Mbita for the role he played during his tenure as executive secretary of the Liberation Committee of the Organisation of African Unity.
In her remarks, the SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax praised Zimbabwe for its legendary hospitality and the excellent preparations for the summit.
Doctor Tax also paid tribute to the outgoing SADC Chairperson, President Mutharika and former Malawi President Joyce Banda for leading the regional grouping for the past one year.
She reiterated the need for concerted efforts for economic integration inorder to achieve a better Southern Africa, which will go a long way in uplifting the lives of SADC citizens.
Dr Tax also paid tribute to SADC for sending election observers to monitor elections in member states.
The Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dhlamini Zuma paid tribute to SADC leaders for maintaining peace and stability in the region.
She underscored the need for the region to embark on a skills revolution where young women and men will focus on science education.