BY PROBLEM MASAU
THE late former President Robert Mugabe was yesterday honoured as one of Southern Africa’s founding fathers at the ongoing Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) summit being held in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Former First Lady Grace Mugabe received the award before posing for photos with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
The two publicly last met in 2019 at Mugabe’s funeral.
“Sadc honours its founding fathers. Former First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe, received the award for the late former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe. The awards are a way of honouring and saying thank you to the Sadc pioneers for setting the foundations for a common future for the region,” government announced on its presidential communications Twitter handle.
In 2017, Mugabe fired Mnangagwa as Vice-President. A few days later, Mugabe was forcibly removed by Mnangagwa through a military-assisted coup.
Other late former Sadc founding leaders who were honoured included Angola’s Augustinho Neto, Botswana’s Seretse Khama, Eswatini King Sobhuza II, Malawi’s Kamuzu Banda, Mozambique’s Samora Machel, Tanzania’s Julius Nyerere and Zambia’s Kenneth Kaunda.
The on-going Sadc summit is being held under the theme Promoting industrialisation through, agro-processing, mineral beneficiation and regional value chains for inclusive and resilient economic growth.
It is expected that discussions would strengthen implementation of the Sadc Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2020-2030 which seeks to further deepen southern African regional integration and foster development in support of the industrial development and market integration pillar.
DRC President Tshisekedi Tshilombo will take over the Sadc chairpersonship from Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera at the summit, who assumed the position on August 17, 2021 during the 41st Sadc Summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi.