The Sunday Mail

From Caesar Zvayi in LUSAKA, Zambia

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa’s pending assumption of the chairmanship of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is indicative of the region’s confidence in the Government of Zimbabwe and repudiation of the opposition’s claims of a crisis of legitimacy, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Dr Sibusiso Moyo said yesterday.

President Mnangagwa is set to succeed Zambian President Edgar Lungu as chair of the Organ Troika at the 39th Sadc Summit set for Dar es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania next month; and will steer the organ till the 40th Summit in 2020.

The Organ on Politics, Defence and Security was formed in June 1996 with the objective of supporting, achieving and maintaining security and the rule of law in the region.

Speaking after the Organ Troika meeting held at Mulugushi International Conference Centre here yesterday, Dr Moyo said Zimbabwe’s pending chairmanship had been well received.

‘‘The confidence which has been accorded Zimbabwe by member states to take a leadership role in the Organ means in fact the issue of legitimacy is dead and buried; in fact, it died a long time ago, that is why it cannot be recycled as an issue for political relevance and expediency,’’ he said.

‘‘This means confidence on the part of Zimbabwe by the Sadc region. It means faith in Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans and above all confidence in and indications of stability in Zimbabwe, which is going to be able to take a leadership role in peace and security matters in the region. So it is not a mean responsibility. It means the democracy of the country has matured to an extent that we are now going to have a responsibility as Zimbabwe of oversight, oversight of all the elections which are going to be taking place in the region, and there is quite a lot of them packed from October going forward,’’ he added.

MDC-Alliance leader, Mr Nelson Chamisa, refused to concede defeat and claims to be on a diplomatic offensive to sell his cause in the region, a claim that rings hollow in light of Sadc’s endorsement of last year’s harmonised elections, and Zimbabwe’s pending assumption of leadership of the Troika.

The ministerial meeting deliberated on, among other things, the region’s inter-State politics and diplomacy, and the political and security situation, especially in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The ministers also reviewed reports on elections held in the period between July 2018 and June 2019 and congratulated the victors and people of Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Madagascar and the DRC for conducting peaceful, free and fair elections.

Zimbabwe, as chair, is scheduled to host the next MCO (ministerial committee of organ) meeting next year.

Dr Moyo was accompanied by Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Minister Cain Mathema, State Security Minister Owen Ncube, Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Philip Valerio Sibanda and service chiefs.