Zimbabwe’s assumption of the Sadc chair has been hailed by people from all walks of life as an endorsement of President Mugabe’s unquestionable leadership.
Several people and analysts called The Herald yesterday to register their excitement over Zimbabwe’s assumption of Sadc’s chair, which they said was a milestone for the country’s history.
President Mugabe, who is also the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, took over the chairperson of Sadc at the just ended regional bloc’s ordinary summit held in Victoria Falls. He took over from Malawi President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika.
The Herald’s newsroom was inundated yesterday with people calling to say the assumption of the post was a confirmation by the region that Harare’s leadership was on track.
Analysts spoken to hailed Sadc for reposing confidence in the leadership of President Mugabe. A caller from Highfield, Mrs Margaret Toendepi, said the ball remained in Zimbabwe’s court to continue demonstrating the good leadership that it had been doing. “I am quite excited by this development. We need to continue the good work that has earned us the chairmanship,” she said. Another caller, Mr Kenias Mabuto from Kuwadzana, said there was every reason for the country to celebrate because it was an endorsement of Zimbabwe’s democratic system.
“The import of this is that Zimbabwe’s track record as a democratic country has received the nod of Sadc. We feel elated by this, particularly when we have the leadership of President Mugabe; we feel secure,” said Mr Mabuto.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Dr Charity Manyeruke, said with President Mugabe at the helm of the regional bloc, issues of production and ownership of resources would be uppermost for Sadc.
“There will be also emphasis on value addition so that people benefit from their resources,” said Dr Manyeruke.
Zimbabwe, she said, also boasted of a track record of conflict resolution and management if one is to have regard to its role in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique.
“In terms of security, the region is quite confident of the excellent leadership shown by President Mugabe in (the) DRC during Operation Restore Sovereign Legitimacy and in Mozambique when it repelled Renamo aggression,” said Dr Manyeruke.
National Constitutional Assembly president Professor Lovemore Madhuku said the development was a reflection that Zimbabwe was regarded as a key ally of the region. “The most important significance of that development is that Zimbabwe is regarded as a key ally in the region.
“It is an acceptance of our full membership of the Sadc family,” said Prof Madhuku.
Federation of Non-Governmental Organisation president Mr Goodson Nguni said Zimbabwe’s assumption of Sadc as chairperson would see the deepening of economic integration.
“There will also be enhancement of people to people interaction and deepening of economic integration through the principled leadership of President Mugabe,” said Mr Nguni.
Zimbabwe Passengers Association secretary-general Mr Paul Makiwa said it was the hope of his organisation that Sadc would address road infrastructure, which he said had contributed to road carnages, particularly on cross-border traders.
Multiracial Christian Democrats acting president Mathias Guchutu also applauded President Mugabe for being appointed Sadc chair.
“Individually, countries have failed, so it could not come at any better time because the region now needs a leader who is a strategic and aggressive thinker; a man with foresight, which we find in President Mugabe. We therefore congratulate him for being appointed to the chair of this body,” said Mr Guchutu.
In his acceptance speech, President Mugabe said while the chairmanship was directly given to him as Head of State and Government, he dedicated the honour to the whole of Zimbabwe.