Southern Africa: SADC to Press Against Zimbabwe Sanctions

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Judge's gavel.

Dar es Salaam — Removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe will top the agenda of the coming summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc).

The minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Palamagamba Kabudi said this was one of the recommendations which will be presented to the regional leaders during their Summit over the weekend.

He told journalists at the end of the bloc's session of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday that the decision was arrived at because the situation in the once troubled southern Africa country has normalized.

"The situation in Zimbabwe has normalized with the recent successful elections and a new political dispensation", he told journalists at the end of the meeting late Wednesday.

Prof Kabudi said Sadc countries do not see any reason why sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe - a bonafide Sadc member - some years ago should continue.

The sanctions were imposed by the western countries nearly 20 years ago during the leadership of the president Robert Mugabe following the forced takeover of the commercial farms from the white settlers.

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The western countries were also not happy with the conduct of elections that Zimbabwe from 2002 amid allegations of widespread human rights abuses, especially against the opposition.

The 39th Sadc Summit, during which Tanzania will take over the leadership of the bloc, will he held at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Centre (JNICC) in Dar es Salaam on Saturday and Sunday.

Prof. Kabudi told reporters that the Council of Ministers' meeting had come up with a total of 107 recommendations which will be tabled before the 16 Heads of State and Government for consideration.

He mentioned another key agenda as spearheading efforts for industrialization in order to enhance economic growth and create employment for millions of the unemployed youth in the region.

"Industrialization will also increase intra-regional trade currently at the level of only 30 per cent", he said, noting that 60 per cent of the active labour force in Sadc were youth.

The Summit is also expected to adopt Kiswahili as the fourth official language of the bloc. Currently, the official languages of the 16 nation organization are English, French and Portuguese.

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