Zim hosts unique SADC Summit President Mnangagwa receives the SADC Executive Secretary’s 2022/23 report from Mr Elias Magosi at State House in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Believe Nyakudjara

Wallace Ruzvidzo Herald Reporter

Zimbabwe will be hosting a first-of-its-kind Sadc Summit in August, which will see the region’s Heads of State interacting with citizens and acquainting themselves with some of the mega projects in the country.

This was revealed by the regional bloc’s Executive Secretary, Mr Elias Magosi, when he paid a courtesy call on President Mnangagwa at State House yesterday.

In an interview after their closed-door meeting, Mr Magosi said he had proposed to President Mnangagwa that the visiting presidents interact with citizens, as opposed to them just being seen on television and other forms of media.

In response, he said the President had agreed and pledged to engage his SADC counterparts on the proposal.

“I came on a courtesy call on the President to talk about a few things, the main one being the preparations for the SADC Summit that will be held here in Harare in August.

“We also want to make sure that there is bigger visibility for Heads of State when they come here into a country like Zimbabwe. They should not just come in and out, they should actually be here for some time and meet with the citizens, so he bought into the idea and he said he will engage with his colleagues and make sure that they do that.

“They are not often seen physically; they are often seen on television and so forth, so, it is important that people appreciate that these (the leaders) are humans as well. They can appreciate projects that are happening around the member states.”

Mr Magosi said during the SADC leaders’ visit, they will also have time to be shown the Museum of African Liberation by President Mnangagwa.

Countries in the region have each been accorded space at the museum, where they can fill with their respective countries’ liberation history, something he said was important to preserve for future generations.

“The second thing was to talk about the Liberation Museum, which we have the opportunity to go and see. In August there will be a side event from the summit, where he (President Mnangagwa) will be presenting the museum to the other Heads of State and also to present to them the SADC Liberation Square, where they can also put their own liberation history as member states.

“This is a good realisation that we have a history for us to be liberated, as member states and as a region, therefore this is a historical development,” he said.

In terms of preparations for the summit, Mr Magosi said SADC was pleased to note that “good progress” had been made by Zimbabwe.

“You will be aware that President Mnangagwa will be assuming the chairmanship of SADC and there are preparatory works that have been done, leading up to the Summit itself. The committee that is led by Vice President Chiwenga is working around the clock, with ministers and other senior officials, to make sure that the Summit is a success.

“So that committee is working with the (SADC) Secretariat, ourselves and my team, to make sure that the Summit is successful. His Excellency was also indicating that progress has been made in this regard, so it is pleasing that we are not far off from the actual month but there is good progress that has been made already,” he said.

Mr Magosi said he had also consulted and briefed President Mnangagwa on various issues, including the peace and security situation in the region.

“The third aspect was just to share with him some thoughts around how we can enhance how SADC functions, how it works, how we can improve ourselves, and projects that are meaningful that are making a change in the lives of our people.”

Other projects that were discussed include regional industrialisation, energy and food security.

Turning to the recently launched SADC Humanitarian Appeal, Mr Magosi said the regional bloc would consult a plethora of partners to bail out the region from the drought.

“The appeal was launched, we are now going to be talking to our partners and all others that can support us to make sure that we get that.

“We are also going to talk to those that have surpluses both in the region and outside of the region so that we supply those that are in need,” he said.

The SADC Executive Secretary said it was time for the region to be well equipped and better prepared to deal with climate change and its adverse effects.

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