President Mugabe handed over the chairmanship of SADC to Botswana leader Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama after a year at the helm of the 15-member regional bloc. Shortly before midday at the Gaborone International Conference Centre, President Mugabe gave President Khama, who has been deputising him, the chairmanship badge, ceremonially marking the end of his chairmanship.
President Mugabe assumed the Sadc chairmaship that he attained at the 34th Sadc Summit held in Victoria Falls in August last year and saw him driving the industrialisation agenda for the region.
President Khama immediately paid tribute to the outgoing chairman and pledged to continue with the agenda that President Mugabe set over the past year.
In his keynote address President Mugabe reflected on his successful tenure, which saw the region adopting an industrialisation roadmap and hoped for unity in the regional body to preclude divisions fanned by detractors.
“Since the 34th summit held in Victoria Falls, we have continued to work resolutely towards the realisation of our vision to transform SADC into an independent, prosperous and self-sustaining region,” said President Mugabe.
“to this end, the extraordinary Summit in Harare, in April this year, adopted the Sadc Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, which has laid a firm foundation for the economic growth and development of our region,” he said.
He said the strategy and road-map was “only the beginning of a long journey” if Sadc were to achieve the industrialisation dream.