The 40th SADC Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government is expected to be held virtually owing to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Both the summit and preceding meetings will be held virtually from August 10 to 17. Incoming chairperson of the 16-member regional bloc, Mozambique will chair the summit.
“In view of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the summit and preceding meetings will be conducted virtually with a reduced agenda, focusing on the hand-over of the SADC Chairpersonship, and critical institutional matters. The Republic of Mozambique will host the virtual meetings as the incoming chair of the 16-member regional economic bloc,” reads a statement posted by the bloc on its website.
The summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution.
All Heads of State and Government constitute the Summit and is managed on a Troika system that comprises the current SADC chairperson, the incoming chairperson and the immediate previous chairperson.
The current SADC Troika comprises Tanzania President Dr John Magufuli as SADC chairperson, his predecessor Namibia President Dr Hage Geingob as the outgoing chairperson and Mozambique President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, as the incoming chairperson.
President Mnangagwa chairs the Troika’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and comprises President Edgar Lungu of Zambia and Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana.
In a related matter, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Secretary, Ambassador James Manzou, yesterday chaired a SADC meeting of officials to review the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), which is a United Nations intervention unit to quell armed rebels in the eastern parts of the DR Congo.
Ambassador Manzou told ZBC News that yesterday’s meeting was meant to ensure that SADC spoke with one voice.
The meeting was attended by SADC security chiefs.
“We have been mandated to convene the meeting of SADC in order to ensure that SADC continues to speak with one voice on this issue which is of critical importance to our region. The FIB is doing a commendable job in the DRC and it needs our full support.
“I have heard that our colleagues from DRC are here with us and it would be important for us to hear their views concerning the discussions that have been taking place in New York on this important issue,” he said.