‘Sadc should stand up to bully nations’ President Mnangagwa bids farewell to Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo Johannes Tomana before his departure for Harare at Kinshasa International Airport yesterday. — Picture: Tawanda Mudimu.

Fungi Kwaramba recently in KINSHASA, DRC

MEMBER states of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) and Africa at large must never surrender their hard won freedoms and destiny on the alter of social, economic and political expediency by pandering to the whims of intrusive Western nations, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.

In an interview at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport in Harare soon after arriving from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he attended the 42nd summit of the regional body, President Mnangagwa said peace and security featured prominently in discussions among Sadc Heads of State and Government. 

He said the region should remain united and not be divided by geopolitical shifts and trade disruptions. 

“We also said that what is happening in Europe should not divide us, we should not be superintended by foreign powers, we should be solid and remain ourselves and uphold the principles of our founding fathers of the region,” said President Mnangagwa.

Earlier in an intervention on the Peace and Security report of the Sadc Organ Troika during the summit in Kinshasa, the President, who sits on the 15-member African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council, commended Sadc member states for availing resources towards the maintenance of peace in the region. 

This follows the deployment of a combined Sadc force to deal with insurgents in the Mozambican Cabo Delgado region. 

“We salute the notable achievements made by our Sadc forces towards neutralising the terrorists in parts of Cabo Delgado. Their courageous victory in regaining towns and villages from terrorist hands to facilitate the return of displaced villagers as well as the passage of humanitarian assistance to the affected populations is applauded,” President Mnangagwa said.

The regional force has made headway in the containment of terrorism, with relative peace now returning to some parts of Mozambique. 

However, President Mnangagwa said gains made by Sadc should be steadfastly safeguarded, especially in the wake of machinations by some countries such as the United States to put Africa on a leash through self-serving and manipulative policies. 

He added that while the Covid-19 pandemic and other global challenges have imposed fresh challenges on the region, there is a need for Sadc to leverage on the new sense of self-belief and innovative capabilities. 

This, President Mnangagwa said, can be achieved if the region takes charge of its own security and destiny.  

“This is even more critical as the world is witnessing the re-emergence of policies and oppressive systems which we fought and overcame. Today we stand tall as sovereign and independent countries with equal standing like all others within the comity of nations.  

“The US Malign Russian Activities in Africa Bill is a case in point. Such retrogressive pieces of legislation have no place in the world of today and go against the grain and spirit of the United Nations Charter. ‘Might’ ought not to be misconstrued as tantamount to being automatically right. 

“The misplaced inflated posturing by some powerful states with their doctrine of ‘either you are with me or against me, and if you are not with me, you are to be an object of unilateral sanctions,’ is unacceptable. We must never give up. We must never surrender our fate and destiny on the altar of social, economic and political expediency,” he said. 

“We regret this worrisome trend which undermines our sovereign right to independently determine our own future; a right that we fought for, that was not handed to us on a silver platter. Individually and collectively, we will never betray or depart from our sacred duty to honour the many sons and daughters of Africa who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom and democracy we are enjoying today”. 

President Mnangagwa challenged the region to “defend and preserve every facet of the independence, sovereignty and unity of our countries and institutions”.

“This is fundamental for the realisation of regional stability, peace and security and indeed the basis upon which our broader objectives of regional integration and sustainable socio-economic development can be achieved.”

In a communique at the end of the Summit, Sadc said the region will not brook interference in the internal affairs of its member states. 

“Summit expressed its dissatisfaction against the continent being targeted for unilateral and punitive measures through the ‘Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act that was recently adopted by the United States House of Representatives and reaffirmed its principled position of non-alignment to any conflicts outside the continent, and directed that the matter be included in the agenda of the African Union.”

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