Past immediate chairperson of the SADC council of ministers Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has called on SADC member states to desist from dependence syndrome if they are to be taken serious.
Addressing Ministers from the region, Mumbengegwi who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Zimbabwe cautioned the council that for as long as they depend on their cooperating partners they will not wholly own SADC and the future of their programs and activities will remain uncertain. “While we deeply appreciate the support that SADC receives from its cooperating partners, our continued dependency on their generosity and benevolence constitutes one of the most profound weaknesses of our organisation,” hit out Mumbengegwi.
He said that the state of affairs is compromising ownership and control as well as the sustainability of SADC programs particularly those in the strategic areas that are at the core the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan as well as the Strategic Indicative Plan for the organ.
The Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister donor informed the SADC council of Ministers that funders are finding it difficult to continue to fund SADC programmes and that the issue of alternative sources of funding should be debated, “neither can we afford to continue procrastinating on the operationalization of sustainable financing mechanisms such as the SADC Regional Development Fund.”
SADC has been accused of being a talk show coming up with many programs and protocol which currently stand at 26 and failing to implement them and Mumbengegwi called on member states to concentrate on those programmes that have a direct bearing on regional integration and peace and security. “Every year, our organisation is confronted with the twin realities of an ever expanding list of responsibilities against a background of dwindling resources,” Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister.
He added that there is no need of coming up with institutions and programmes which they member states have no capacity to fund. “We should not heap on SADC those programmes that member states can implement on their own,” said Mumbengegwi.
Accepting the chairmanship position, Minister of Finance and Development Planning urged member states to assume financial responsibility for financing SADC activities. Like his predecessor Matambo said that the region must prioritize activities and focus on those that would deepen regional integration within a short timeframe. “Let us therefore ensure implementation of high impact activities, policies and strategies,” said Matambo.
He said that the regional block need to have a strong monitoring and evaluation system which would be able to ensure that agreed strategies and priorities are implemented noting that it will be self-defeating to come up with good strategies and plans that merely gather dust.
Focusing on SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap, Matambo appealed to member states to give priority to people centered development when executing their regional plans.
Earlier on when giving welcoming remarks, SADC executive secretary Dr Stergomela Lawrence Tax informed the council of ministers that the regional block has made some strides in the past twelve months. Some of the major achievements according to Dr Tax include the formulation of the Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063 and finalisation of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan 2015-2020.
She called on member states to be committing in ensuring that the milestones set therein are implemented and progress is monitored effectively and continuously.
Head of States of SADC member countries are expected to arrive in Gaborone today (Sunday) as their meeting starts on Monday. Only Malawian President Peter Mutharika will not make it to the summit due to budgetary constraints.