SPEECH BY DR. JAKAYA KIKWETE, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED REPUBLIC OF TANZANIA, ON ASSUMING THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE SADC ORGAN ON POLITICS, DEFENCE AND SECURITY COOPERATION 17TH AUGUST, 2012, MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE
Your Majesty, King Mswati III of the Kingdom of Swaziland;
Your Excellency Armando Guebuza, SADC Chairperson and President of the Republic of Mozambique;
Your Excellency Madam Joyce Banda, Deputy Chairperson of SADC and President of the Republic of Malawi;
Your Excellency Hifikepunye Pohamba Deputy Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and President of the Republic of Namibia;
Fellow Heads of State and Government; Heads of Delegations;
Your Excellency Dr. Tomaz Augusto Salomao, SADC Executive Secretary;
Honourable Ministers; Permanent Secretaries;
Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is with a great sense of humility and gratitude that I stand before this august assembly to do two things. To move a vote of thanks on behalf of all of us and to thank you for the honour you have reposed on me and my country. On behalf of the government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, I sincerely thank my fellow Heads of State and Government and the entire SADC family for choosing Tanzania to Chair the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation for the coming one year.
We are very much aware that this is not an easy task in view of the political, peace and security challenges facing our region at the moment and the ones we cannot predict that could happen in future. However, I am comforted by the fact that the work of this Organ is a shared responsibility. You have entrusted me and my country with the unenviable role of a coordinating our collective efforts in the search for solutions to the political, diplomatic and security issues of concern to individual member states and our region as a whole.
Excellencies, Distinguished Participants;
My promise to you all today is that we will do our utmost to live up to your expectations. With the sterling work done by my predecessor and continued collective efforts and support from all of us, we will overcome the challenges we face and advance to greater heights.
Allow me to pay glowing tribute to the outgoing Chair, my dear brother and good friend, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, for steering so well the affairs of the Organ in the past one year. We are grateful for his outstanding leadership, dedication and commitment to the work of the Organ during his tour of duty. Surely, we will benefit and build on the good work he and other members of the Troika Organ have done. I also thank, the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Michael Sata, the outgoing member of the Troika, for being a highly dependable partner. He and his government have made an enviable contribution to the work of the SADC Organ and its achievements. We will surely miss his charm and candidness.
Tanzania is picking the baton of leadership of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security at a time when a lot of ground has been covered with regard to the crisis in Madagascar. Perhaps what remains of us now, is to run the last mile. Unfortunately, it appears to be on too steep a climb, making it complicated to negotiate and almost elusive to resolve. We will not and should not tire nor give up until a lasting solution is found.
Likewise, remarkable progress has been made in Zimbabwe, with regard to advancing reconciliation, the process of constitution making and preparing the ground for the next elections. I want to assure this august assembly of Heads of State and Government that the Troika of the SADC Organ will work hand in glove with the Troika of SADC and the rest of us to consolidate the gains made and advance from where President Jacob Zuma left off. We will also work with all stakeholders in Zimbabwe to ensure successful conclusion of the process of drawing up the new Constitution and ensure that the coming elections are democratic, free and fair.
In the same vein, we will work closely with other members of the troika of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security to oversee SADC’s active involvement in finding peaceful resolution of the crisis in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. The ongoing security and humanitarian crises in this member state of our Organization is very disturbing and unacceptable. The Congolese people have suffered for far too long. They deserve to get a break and live better. It is high time that the crises ended forever and they are left to concentrate on more positive and productive activities of improving their living standards. SADC has a unique role to play and Tanzania feels privileged to be afforded the opportunity to coordinate these noble efforts.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
As we continue to get involved in the affairs of the DRC, we are cognisant of the work being done under the framework of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR). Four SADC member states namely Angola, DRC, Zambia and Tanzania are members of the ICGLR as well. This is very opportune indeed, for our Organisation because these countries will be SADC’s bridge to advance our cause, ideas and positions. It is in our mutual interest for SADC to work closely with the ICGLR in this regard.
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Her Excellency Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, for being elected the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC). Emerging victorious in a highly contested election like the one held in July 2012 in Addis Ababa, is a matter she and our region deserve a lot of praise. We have every reason to congratulate her and ourselves.
Indeed, Madam Nkosazana Zuma has re-written AU’s history in two ways. First, she is the first woman ever to hold that prestigious high office of our continental organization for the past 49 years. And, second, it is the first time for Southern Africa to get the opportunity to hold this office. It is, indeed, a great pride for the SADC region because our concerted efforts and perseverance have paid off handsomely. I take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our Ministers for Foreign Affairs for a job very well done. Madam Nkosazana Zuma has made us proud. We wish her every success and assure her of our unwavering support and cooperation.
On behalf of all Heads of State and Government and all delegates to this 32nd SADC Summit, I would like to take this opportunity to thank most sincerely President Armando Emilio Guebuza and the great people of this country for the warmth of reception and gracious hospitality. We have been enjoying every minute of our stay. You have made us feel very much at home. You have provided excellent facilities for our meeting at this magnificent Joaquim Chissano International Conference Centre.
We thank you so much for your very able stewardship of our meeting yesterday and today. We are confident that under your excellent leadership, SADC is in very safe hands and bound to make great strides. With you in the chair we look to the future with great hopes and optimism. On behalf of all colleagues, we promise you unqualified support and cooperation.
It would be remise of me if I did not acknowledge and commend the SADC Secretariat under the able leadership of Dr. Tomas Salomao, the Executive Secretary, for a job very well done. You have made excellent preparations for this meeting which made the work of the Summit smooth and easy. Please keep up the good work.
Let me conclude by saying that SADC is an organisation with great prospects now and in future. I am confident that together we shall deliver on our promise and the expectations of the people this Organisations is supposed to serve.
Last but not least, I would like to use this opportunity to remind you of my invitation to all SADC Heads of State and Government to attend the Smart Partnership Dialogue to be held in Dar es Salaam between 24th – 28th May, 2013. The theme is very pertinent and relevant to the challenges of development we are grappling with every day: “Leveraging Modern Technology for Africa’s Development” I expect all of you to attend.
Thank you for your attention. Muito obrigado!