‘SADC Summit a resounding success’

President Mnangagwa joins his counterparts, Angolan President Joao Lourenco, DRC President Felix Tshisekedi (to his left), Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema (third from left), Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan (second from left), South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa (left), and other Heads of State and Government for a photo session at the SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit in Luanda, Angola, on Saturday.

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has described the just ended SADC Extraordinary Heads of State and Government Summit as a resounding success.

He was speaking with Zimbabwean journalists on Saturday in Luanda, Angola immediately after emerging from the Summit venue.

From the meeting of Chiefs of Defence to that of Ministers, and eventually the big one — Heads of State and Government — one could see the desire by delegates to thrash out a lasting deal to save the people of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo from the visible threats to their lives they confront daily.

Men, women and girls are always on the run, trying to escape with their lives from the claws of the menacing M23 rebels.

The fact that SADC leaders held an Extraordinary Summit virtually last Tuesday, and instantly selected a date to conclude it physically after connectivity challenges in the DRC, demonstrates the determination by SADC leaders to find a lasting solution to the challenges faced by people in eastern DRC.

In an interview, President Mnangagwa said the summit was “excellent and successful”.

It was successful in two ways; a solution to save the people of DRC was set in motion while forces that wanted Zimbabwe to be discussed were left with egg all over their faces.

It is believed there are certain characters in the SADC region, and the SADC Secretariat, who are out to embarrass Harare, to “please their handlers”.

A Zimbabwean (name withheld) in the SADC Secretariat, whose salary comes from the EU, and is said to be a close associate of CCC leader Mr Nelson Chamisa, is thought to be doing a hatchet job for his pay masters.

His efforts to have Zimbabwe put on the agenda of the extraordinary summit have been a case in point.

But President Mnangagwa said Harare is always alert to thwart the machinations of such people.

On Friday, it was established that Zimbabwe was not on the agenda of the summit, but on Saturday morning, rumours started filtering through that Harare was back on the agenda.

Eventually, no discussion on Zimbabwe took place, as confirmed by the President.

Asked if the discussion had focused on DRC, President Mnangagwa said: “Absolutely”.

Further asked if there were attempts to smuggle Zimbabwe onto the agenda, the President said: “These things happen in society; not everybody is a priest, so you find these things happening.

“But we are so alert that we were going to deal with the things that are relevant to the summit which was called for.

“This (was an) extraordinary summit, which means there was a particular subject we were going to discuss.”

In respect of the DRC, Summit said it was providing “strategic guidance” on the deployment of the SADC Mission to restore peace in that country.

The M23 rebels are attacking ordinary people and occupying their territory.

People have been killed, injured, raped and over 600 000 displaced.

Women and girls are affected the most by the violence.

In a communiqué at the end of the summit, SADC Executive Secretary Mr Elias Magosi said Summit commended member states that have committed additional pledges towards deployment of the SADC Mission in the DRC (SAMIDRC).

He added that the Summit reiterated the need for SADC to spearhead efforts towards mobilisation of resources for facilitating peace and security in the SADC region.

“These efforts include reviving discussions to establish and operationalise the SADC Peace Fund and engaging international co-operating partners.”

Summit also received an update on the elections in SADC member states and noted the report of the SADC Election Observation Mission to the harmonised elections in Zimbabwe held in August, and the general elections in Eswatini held in September.

“Summit wished the Republic of Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo peaceful and successful elections as the two SADC member states hold their elections in November and December 2023, respectively, and reiterated SADC’s support through the deployment of the SADC Election Observation Mission.

“Summit reiterated the urgent need for all stakeholders, in particular, political parties in the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Lesotho, to ensure that the reform process is brought to finality in the interests of national political, economic and security stability,” said Mr Magosi.

Summit commended Angola President and SADC Chairperson, João Lourenço, as the designated facilitator by the African Union (AU), in bringing peace to eastern DRC.

Summit also mandated the SADC Chairperson, supported by the Organ Troika, to intensify diplomatic efforts between the DRC and Rwanda to bring lasting peace in the DRC.

Mr Magosi said the Summit also commended Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, who is also the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, for his leadership in sustaining peace and security in the region.

Other leaders who attended the summit are DRC President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, President Dr Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania. Also present was Lesotho Prime Minister Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane, Namibia Vice President Dr Nangolo Mbumba, Botswana Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Lemogang Kwape, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malawi Nancy Gladys Tembo, Mozambique Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Minister Verónica Dlhovo, and Eswatini Principal Secretary, Ministry of Economic Planning and Development, Ms Thabisile Mlangeni.

But amid the seriousness surrounding the Extraordinary Summit, a newly wed couple that stayed for about two days at the Intercontinental Hotel — venue of the SADC summit — reminded people that there is always a time for everything.

As Heads of State and Government left the venue after the summit, the couple could also be seen making its way out.


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