Hon. Bernard K. Membe (MP) (center), Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Hon. Dr. William Augustao Mgimwa (MP) (right), Minister for Finance and Hon. Dr. Abdallah Kigoda (MP) (left), Minister for Industry and Trade during the two-days SADC Council of Ministers Meeting commenced yesterday in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Dar sets to handover organ SADC-
By TAGIE DAISY MWAKAWAGO and TOGOLANI MAVURA
Tanzania this week is set to relinquish her Chairmanship of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, after a remarkable year long serving under the emblem Chairmanship of President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
The transition ceremony is scheduled to take place during the 33rd SADC Heads of State and Government Summit at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi from 17 to 18 of August, 2013. Tanzania had assumed the Chairmanship from President Jacob Zuma of South Africa in August of 2012 during the 31st Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government held in Maputo, Mozambique. H.E Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia is expected to take the next Chairmanship later this month.
During her tenure, Tanzania had played significant role in addressing regional conflicts that threatened security and political stability in the region. Matters on the agenda were the deadlock in the implementation of a political roadmap in Madagascar, the implementation of Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe, and the deterioration of security situation in Eastern part of the DR Congo following the instability caused by the M23 rebels. These thorny issues presented a challenge to the Tanzanian leadership of the SADC Organ, and her foreign policy.
In Madagascar, the roadmap was set in effort to bring back transitional normalcy to the political status quo. In countless meetings, President Kikwete in his capacity as a SADC-organ Chairhas has engaged President Rajoelina, former ousted President Marc Ravalomanana and other stakeholders to the conflict, in order to find amicable solutions to bring Madagascar to a constitution normalcy.
For Eastern DR Congo, SADC-organ Chairman President Kikwete has been the frontrunner in spearheading efforts to draw attention to the international community about the political fallout in the country. The fallout had posed humanitarian and security challenges that led to the persistent efforts by SADC-organ to collaborate with the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the African Union and the United Nations to deploy an Intervention Brigade in the Eastern DRC under the auspices of MONUSCO. Tanzania is among member states that have contributed to the formation of Intervention Brigade. To the latter, Congo-DRC has also initiated a dialogue with opposition stakeholders in efforts to bridge peace and stability in the country.
For Zimbabwe, Hon. Bernard K. Membe (MP), Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation led the successful SADC Electoral Observer Mission for the Zimbabwe’s historical Referendum for the new Constitution. The successful outcome in the completion of the Referendum led to the recent presidential election which SADC called it as “free and peaceful”. The ZANU-PF party won during that election, re-electing President Robert Mugabe for another five-year term.
It is no doubt that Tanzania takes pride in relinquishing its Chairmanship out of the SADC-Organ whereby there has been a positive progress in Madagascar, Zimbabwe and DR Congo. In the same spirit, the United States President Barack Obama while in Dar es Salaam hailed “Tanzania and President Jakaya Kikwete for the efforts to strengthen security and peace in the Great Lakes region as well as Southern Africa.” Similarly, the China President Xi Jinping also underscored the positive role Tanzania is playing in the regional by describing it as a cornerstone of "hope and promise."
Meanwhile, Hon. Minister Membe is leading a Tanzania delegation in the SADC Council of Ministers Meeting in Lilongwe, Malawi from the 14 to 16 of August, 2013. The meeting aims at discussing array of agenda that include the status of the midterm review of the regional indicative strategic development plan, the long-term SADC vision 2050 and appointment of the new Executive Secretary and Deputy Executive Secretary of the Regional Integration. Currently, Dr. Tomaz Augusto Salomão is the SADC Executive Secretary.
It should be noted that Tanzania has put Dr. Stergomena L. Tax, currently Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Cooperation to run for the Executive Secretary position against a candidate from Seychelles, Hon. Peter Sinon, Minister for Investment Natural Resources and Industry. The elections will take course when the Heads of State and Government meet in Malawi from the 16th to the 17th of August, 2013 in the 33rd SADC Summit. President Kikwete is also expected to participate in the meeting with his other SADC counterparts.