9 August 2018

Southern Africa: Zimbabwe Not On SADC Summit Agenda

INTERNATIONAL relations permanent secretary, ambassador Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, yesterday said the Zimbabwe elections and their aftermath would not be discussed at the start of the 38th ordinary SADC summit of heads of state and government.

She said this ahead of the start of the regional summit taking place in Namibia from today to 18 August. Namibia last hosted the summit in 1992. Ashipala-Musavyi told The Namibian that the senior officials' meeting chaired by South Africa and expected to take place today will not discuss the Zimbabwean elections because it is a matter that falls under the peace and security pillar.

The senior officials' meeting is one of the various engagements taking place during the summit.

She explained that the peace and security meeting already took place on ministers' level in Luanda, Angola, and that this current meeting will not deal with peace and security affairs.

"I am not privy to what items are on the agenda, but I know Zimbabwe is not on the agenda of the organ," the permanent secretary said.

She, however, stated that the matter might be discussed if someone brings it up during the summit next week.

The senior officials' meeting will be followed by meetings and events such as the SADC finance sub-committees, the meeting of the SADC ministers, as well as the double Troika meeting.

Ashipala-Musavyi said the summit will discuss matters from the integration pillar, such as the industrialisation sector, agriculture, infrastructural development, the financial situation of the organisation, and the endorsement of positions and gender issues.

She added that she does not think Namibia will be under pressure to pronounce itself on the Zimbabwe elections issue as the country will only be taking over the SADC chairmanship on the 17th of August.

"South Africa is still the chair, and I can't speak on behalf of the chair," she noted. She is also expected to be taking over the SADC standing committee of senior officials' chairpersonship from South Africa's Kgabo Mahoa, who is the international relations director general in his country.

Country leaders are only expected to arrive on the 16th for the summit of heads of state and government on 17 August, where current SADC chairperson and president of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, will ceremoniously hand over the chairmanship to President Hage Geingob. International relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah will also be taking over the SADC Council chairperson position from South Africa's international relations minister, Lindiwe Sisulu.

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