The Sunday Mail
Cletus Mushanawani Mutare Bureau
PRESIDENT Mugabe and the First Lady, Amai Grace Mugabe arrived at Harare International Airport early this morning from Tshwane in South Africa where he was attending the 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government.
President Mugabe and his delegation which included Cabinet ministers, Cdes Patrick Chinamana (Finance and Economic Development), Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Foreign Affairs) and Mike Bimha (Industry and Commerce) was welcomed by Vice-President, Cde Phelekezela Mphoko, Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Ignatius Chombo, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Dr Chris Mushohwe and service chiefs.
This year’s SADC Summit coincided with the regional bloc’s silver jubilee since its transformation from Southern African Development Coordination Conference to Southern African Development Community 25 years ago in Namibia.
Incoming SADC chairman as well as South Africa President Jacob Zuma, said it was time for all Heads of States and Government to take stock of the progress as well as opportunities created since SADC’s inception.
“As a region we have a blueprint, the Revised Regional Integration Strategic Development Programme (2015-2020) to guide our economic development and integration. “Commendable progress in implementation has been made with the development of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan, the Industrialisation as well as Strategy and Roadmap,” said President Zuma.
He called for the fostering of an environment for reflection on the future strategic direction of the region post-2020. Outgoing SADC chairman, King Mswati 111 commended SADC’s founding fathers, among them President Mugabe for their vision in coming up with the organisation aimed at improving people’s lives.
King Mswati 111 said: “Let me start off by paying tribute to the founding fathers of SADC for their vision for a common future for the SADC organisation to improve the lives of their people. “Since 1980, the institution they conceptualised and established has not only stood the test of time, but also grown from strength to strength.
“I am happy that some of the founding fathers are still with us and they continue to be a valuable source of wisdom for SADC and future generations to come.”
The summit is running under the theme: “Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value-chains.”