Monday, August 17, 2015

SADC: Election takes centre stage in regional summit

THE political situation in the region, especially concerning elections, economic integration and security, will top the agenda of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State Summit, which kicks off here on Monday.

President Jakaya Kikwete is expected to address the summit and bid farewell to his counterparts on Tuesday.

Deputy Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Dr Mahadhi Juma Maalim, told the ‘Daily News’ here that the SADC Ministerial Council had deliberated on the agendas that would be discussed by the Heads of State for further action.

“They will discuss political situation in member states, especially the recent elections in Lesotho and upcoming general elections in Tanzania and other member states.

They will also discuss defence and security, especially instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho and Madagascar”, Dr Mahadhi said.

According to the deputy minister, the Heads of State would deliberate on the development of the process of merging East African Community (EAC), SADC and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Other things to be discussed include gender issues, HIV/ AIDS, TB and malaria. The Heads of State will also elect a new chairman to replace the current chairman, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, and new chairman of TROIKA (Organ of Politics, Defence and Security), replacing the current chairman, South African President Jacob Zuma.

They will also elect vice-chairpersons for the same. “They can also raise new agenda depending on eventualities. But President Kikwete will address the summit as part of his programme to bid farewell to his counterparts”, said Dr Mahadhi.

The deputy minister confirmed information circulating here that SADC member states were convincing Tanzania to chair the TROIKA.

“It’s true that some member states were convincing Tanzania to become chair of the TROIKA but we have not accepted because this is an election year in our country.

But secondly, we were TROIKA vice-chair two years ago; so it’s better to give chances to other member states,” he asserted.

Dr Mahadhi noted, however, that still President Kikwete would make a final decision on the matter.

Meanwhile, according to Tanzania’s High Commissioner to South Africa, who is also accredited to Botswana, Namibia and Lesotho, Ms Radhia Msuya, the Heads of State would also discuss industrialization in the bloc.

“Last year they discussed about industrialisation strategic action for SADC; so they’ll discuss its implementation,’’ the high commissioner said.

Industrialization is a key factor in bringing economic development in SADC member states, Ms Msuya told the ‘Daily News’ at the Grand Palm Hotel yesterday.

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