Outgoing Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) chairperson Robert Mugabe has hailed the region as the best example of peaceful coexistence on the continent.
Mugabe, who is the President of Zimbabwe, was speaking at the Gaborone International Convention Centre in Botswana on Monday during the official opening of the 35th Ordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government.
He said: “We remain the most peaceful and stable region on the continent and that has not come on a silver platter. We fought for it and we should at all times necessary, do the same. We recently just held successful, free, fair and credible elections since the last summit in Zimbabwe.”
He was referring to elections held in Sadc member States of Zambia, Namibia, Lesotho and Mauritius in the past year.
Added Mugabe: “We have and must continue to never allow detractors to destroy, divert and divide us from our values, beliefs and freedom. We must steadfastly uphold the very firm foundation and values that our freedom fighters and founding fathers fought for.”
New Sadc chairperson Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of Botswana, paid tribute to his predecessor for working tirelessly towards the continued success of the regional bloc.
During Mugabe’s one year tenure as chairperson, the region adopted an industrialisation strategy and road map which ensures that member States harness the full potential of their vast and diverse natural resources.
Three new presidents—Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique), Hage Geingob (Namibia) and Edgar Lungu (Zambia)—made their maiden speeches during the summit.
Though not new, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, who previously served as head of government, also made a maiden speech while Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete is due to bid farewell to Sadc leaders as he is serving his last term of office with elections in his country set for October 25 this year.
Sadc is this year celebrating 35 years of existence.