Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
ELEVEN Sadc Heads of State and Government have confirmed their attendance of the 34th Sadc Summit slated for August 17 to 18 in Victoria Falls. President Mugabe, who is set to assume the Sadc chair at the summit, opened a zanu-pf Central Committee meeting in Harare yesterday where he expressed satisfaction with preparations made to host the regional annual event.
“Already, out of the 14 Heads of State, 11 have indicated they are coming. The three are yet to indicate, they are in countries which are preparing for elections, but we know should they be held back by those preparations which they are doing they will send formidable members to represent their countries,” President Mugabe said.
Botswana and Mozambique are expected to go to elections in October, while Namibia is scheduled to hold its plebiscite in November.
The President told Central Committee members that he had met with Sadc Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax earlier in the day and she was satisfied with the country’s state of preparedness told the Sadc summit.
“It is also our fortune this year that we have been elected by Sadc as its host for this year and the chairmanship for the whole of the Sadc year which means up to next year, and just now the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Simbarashe Mumbengegwi) and I have been meeting with the Sadc Secretariat, the Executive Secretary and we have been working on the preparations as done to see whether the rhythm, the format of those preparations are in accordance with the Sadc tradition, what has become a tradition of holding our yearly conferences, and I am happy that the preparations have been well done,” President Mugabe said.
He urged the inter-ministerial committees tasked with ensuring the successful hosting of the summit to ensure they completed their work on time.
“As we look within ourselves as Sadc, we should also have an inward domestic look, are we fully prepared?” he said. “And our committees which have been set to undertake the task of working on those areas where preparations are necessary, those committees must complete their work where it has not been completed.
“We would have to ensure that transport facilities are ready, that we are not only providing cars that are apt and proper and befitting, but cars in good condition, that our accommodation is comfortable, accommodation and befitting to the status of people as we are used in Sadc.”
President Mugabe called on Zimbabweans to be hospitable to the visitors and guests who would be in the country during the Summit.
“The people themselves as a whole should not be found wanting in expressing their joy along places where they may be visited, so that we are not a morose, sorrowing and grieved people,” he said.
“At the end of the day, those who would have visited us must be able to say well they were met, that people were joyful, that people were friendly, that people were charitable and hospitable and who amongst themselves appeared to be united, all be it under the burden of sanctions.”
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said that it was important that Zimbabweans exhibit their work ethic to the region and promote the ZimAsset economic blueprint.
“It is necessary to demonstrate to them that we are an industrious people, we know our way to transformation, we are indeed proceeding towards making ZimAsset succeed and since the theme we have given to Sadc is almost similar to the ZimAsset theme and it has to do with integration, transformation of our economies through not just production and integration, but beneficiation and value addition, which are aspects that we are addressing in ZimAsset, we should demonstrate how we are doing it,” he said.
“There would be people who want to know how we are doing it in agriculture, how we are doing it in industry and commerce, how are we doing it in mining and although this is our second year after ZimAsset has been adopted, we should be in a position to say we have been able to move from one stage to another.”
The Sadc Summit is running under the theme: “Sadc Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition”.
After meeting with President Mugabe at State House earlier, Dr Tax expressed satisfaction with Zimbabwe’s preparedness to host the Summit.
“For the preparations, we are set for the meeting, everything is ready,” she said. “That has been our focus of discussion that for the region to prosper, we have a lot of resources, so what we need to do is now to make sure that this value addition and beneficiation is for our economies and our people’s prosperity.
“But also we touched upon a number of issues because basically during the summit they are going to receive reports on the political situation in the region, socio-economic situation in the region, but also as you are aware this year we have been busy working on the revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan because that is the blueprint for whatever we do as a region.”
Minister Mumbengegwi added: “We have done all the work that we had to do in terms of preparing all the logistics and everything is finalised, everything is completed and I must say that the cooperation that we have had from the various Government departments as well as our private sector has been extremely gratifying.
“The expectations from the summit, of course, are that as you know that our theme relates to the issue value addition, in other words, it is time that we focus on how we are going to export our products.”