The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Her Excellency Dr. Stergomena Lawrence Tax, paid a courtesy call on the Incoming Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, His Excellency Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, at State House in Harare on 21st June, 2019.
President Mnangagwa will assume the Chair of the SADC Organ during the SADC Summit of Heads of States and Government to be held in August 2019 in Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania.
The Chairperson of the SADC Organ is rotated on an annual basis, and currently, his Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu of the Republic of Zambia is the Chairperson, while Angola’s President, H.E João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço is the Outgoing Chairperson.
During the meeting, the SADC Executive Secretary briefed the Incoming Chairperson of the SADC Organ on several issues including the legal premise of the Organ, its mandate and the role of the Chair; the political and security situation in the region; elections that will be conducted during Zimbabwe’s tenure as Chair of the Organ; and progress on the construction of the SADC Standby Force Regional Logistics Depot.
The SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is a structure established under Article 9 of the SADC Treaty. The specific mandate of the Chairperson of the SADC Organ is outlined in Article 4 of the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. Among others, the Chairperson will be responsible for the overall policy direction and achievement of the objectives of the Organ, of promoting peace and security in the SADC Region, in consultation with the Troika of SADC.
During the briefing, the Executive Secretary emphasised that while the SADC region is generally peaceful and stable, it needs to remain vigilant, adding that peace is essential for the attainment of social and economic development.
The SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections acknowledge that election observation is a fundamental component of democratic processes in the region.
During Zimbabwe’s tenure as Chair of the SADC Organ, four SADC Member States namely Botswana, Mauritius, Mozambique and Namibia are scheduled to hold elections. As Chair, Zimbabwe will be responsible for deploying both Long-Term and Short-Term Election Observation Missions to the countries conducting elections, in line with the Principles and Guidelines on Elections.
His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa thanked the Executive Secretary of SADC for the good briefing and expressed Zimbabwe’s readiness to assume the SADC Organ Chairpersonship and continuously work with the SADC Secretariat as Zimbabwe executes her mandate from August 2019 for a period of one year.