File. Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera. (AP File Photo/Thoko Chikondi)
File. Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera. (AP File Photo/Thoko Chikondi)

Malawi takes over SADC chair

By Molaole Montsho Time of article published Aug 15, 2021

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Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera will this week take over the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) at the Ordinary Summit Of Heads of States and Government in Lilongwe.

Chakwera takes the baton from Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique who assumed the chairmanship of the SADC in August 2020.

The SADC summit started on Monday, with a meeting of the Standing Committee of Senior Officials and Finance Committee, where Principal Secretary for the ministry of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Dr Luckie Sikwese, assumed the chairmanship, taking over from Ambassador Carlos Rodrigues Da Costa of Mozambique.

This was followed by a meeting of SADC council of ministers and the SADC Organ Troika Summit.

Heads of State and Government will meet from 17 to 18 August.

The summit in Lilongwe will take stock of progress made in promoting and deepening regional integration in line with the SADC’s Vision 2050, which envisages a peaceful, inclusive, competitive, middle to high income industrialised region where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic well-being, justice, and freedom.

The executive secretary of the SADC Stergomena Lawrence Tax will be leaving after serving for eight years, and a new executive secretary would be sworn in.

Botswana and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have both nominated candidates for the position.

Botswana wants Elias Mpedi Magosi to take up the position while DRC has named Faustin Luanga Mukela as its candidate for the top SADC post.

During his visit to Lesotho in May, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi, said his country was bringing to the table the best candidate for the SADC Secretariat post.

"We do not bring a fluke to the table, he is no pushover. The man has impeccable credentials. He is a top rated technocrat by our standards in Botswana," he told journalists in Lesotho.

Masisi said Magosi was highly qualified for the post, having worked for the Botswana government in various roles including as head of the country’s public service, and as a director of human resource and administration at the SADC Secretariat, from March 2017 to April 2018.

According to Magosi's profile, he has a wealth of experience and requisite leadership competencies gained in executive management in both the public and private sectors, as well as within international organisations.

In January the DRC proposed the name of economist Faustin Luanga Mukela, as its candidate for the post of executive secretary of the SADC.

The Democratic Republic of Congo was also confident that its candidate was no a 'pushover'.

Presenting Mukela's credential, the government said he had more than 25 years of national and international experience on issues related to the economic development of countries, and their integration into a multilateral trade system.

Malawian activist Slyvester Namiwa, was arrested on August 11 at Parliament Building near the Bingu International Convention Centre where the SADC summit was under way.

Namiwa, executive director for Centre of Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI), was arrested while leading a demonstration at parliament in Lilongwe, calling for President Lazarus Chakwera, to set up a committee to investigate the motive behind the “smuggling” of the loan authorisation bill in parliament. The bill sought to get government approval for a loan to finance construction of houses for the police and soldiers.

The pressure group also wants parliament to explain how a loan authorisation bill was irregularly tabled for debate. The bill was included in the parliaments order paper on July 9 without the approval of the office of the attorney general and the cabinet committee on legal affairs and ministry of justice, according to local media reports.

According to online news outlet Malawi24, the Lilongwe City Council had not granted permission for the demonstration because of the SADC summit in the city, and Covid-19 restrictions.

The pressure group announced on August 6, that it had planned activities to draw attention of the delegates to the SADC summit about the issues affecting the region in general, and Malawi in particular.

Namiwa said the main issues were the deteriorating human rights situation in Malawi, and the concerns raised by the Rwandan Refugees and asylum seekers, who were being hosted by Malawi, a country that had recently signed a pact with Rwanda.

“This pact, is likely to make Malawi contravene some of the international peace protocols, the country signed and promised to abide by, given Rwanda’s tendency of hunting down its nationals that fled the country due to political persecution,” he said.

The SADC is an organisation of 16 Member States established in 1980 as the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference (SADCC), which in August 1992 transformed into the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Its mission is to promote sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development through efficient, productive systems, deeper cooperation and integration, good governance and durable peace and security so that the region emerges as a competitive and effective player in international relations and the world economy.

Member States are Angola, Botswana, the Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

African News Agency (ANA)

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