Gaborone — SADC has resolved to maintain the legacy of its founding fathers as the regional body celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.
Officiating at a virtual SADC troika organ on politics, defence and security meeting recently, outgoing chairman, President Emerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe said it was heartening that a mechanism to honour SADC founding fathers was being considered.
The mechanism, he said, would go a long way in inculcating a sense of patriotism, self-love and belonging, particularly among the youth.
"As we develop the activities to create the road towards recognising our founding fathers, let us ensure that robust initiatives are implemented, leveraging on Information Communications Technology (ICT) and leaving no one behind," he said.
Mr Mnangagwa recalled that the idea of forming a regional coordinating body was hatched by leaders among others, the late Sir Seretse Khama of Botswana, Tanzania's Julius Nyerere and Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, who were the torch bearers of the Frontline States.
He said the organisation, formed by the leaders of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi Mozambique, Swaziland and Tanzania on April 1, 1980, as Southern Africa Development Coordinating Conference, had advanced in addressing the interests of its people.
Mr Mnangagwa therefore urged the current crop of leaders to never lose sight of the urgent need to protect the region against instability, interstate conflict and aggression, more so against the background of modern and technologically sophisticated strategies by detractors.
"We must constantly reflect and strengthen our collective defence and security capabilities and equally dedicate ourselves to entrenching democracy and empower our people with greater confidence and resolve," he said.
Mr Mnangagwa said the COVID-19 pandemic had the potential to strain peace, security and stability in the region.
However, he said despite the pandemic and a few political and security challenges, the region had remained stable.
The outgoing organ chairman commended the SADC Secretariat for its sterling work in monitoring and assessing current and emerging security threats in the region such as terrorism, cybercrime, transnational organised crime, climate change, natural disasters, pandemics and epidemics as well as radicalisation and extremism.
Source : BOPA