President Ian Khama who has assumed the chairmanship of SADC has promised to be hands on and ensure that the regional block implement the protocols they have signed especially critical ones.
Addressing his maiden press conference since he became President in 2008, after the closing of the SADC summit, Khama said it is necessary to have decisions implemented in good time. In the past SADC has been viewed as a talk shop in which protocols are ratified and signed but not implemented. Khama said that he has already communicated with the secretariat that he will visit them time and again to assist them. “I have assured them that I will assist them whenever they need me and talk to my counterparts if there is any area we are lagging behind in,” he said.
Khama who was taking over from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as SADC chairperson said that ministers from the member states always meet to monitor progress made and report back to their respective states. Earlier on when giving closing remarks Khama cautioned his counterparts that the people of Southern African would not judge them by the adoption of key strategic documents but rather by the outcomes they have achieved following implementation. “I therefore call upon all of us to implement agreed priorities in these strategic plans in order to improve the well-being of our people,” said Khama, adding that they need each other if they are to prosper as a region.
Khama concurred with the outgoing Chairman of SADC council of Ministers Simbarashe Mumbengegwi that the regional block should reduce from relying on their International Cooperating Partners for funding their projects. “While their financial support is commendable, it remains necessary for SADC to find innovative ways of financing the regional agenda,” he said.
Khama said that it must be accompanied by operational efficiency at the SADC Secretariat to reduce administration costs in order to release resources for the implementation of SADC programmes. Recently it was alleged that there is maladministration at the secretariat which was attributed to waste of funds with some staff faking birth certificates of their children in order to enjoy the educational allowances
Africa has been dogged by some head of states who wanted the constitution of their countries to be amended and allow them stand for third terms and Khama who will be retiring in 2018 said that they have not experienced that in SADC region. He said that this can be witnessed by the retirement of Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete who will be stepping down in October this year.
According to a communiqué sent after the summit, SADC head of States urged the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho and all political parties and key stakeholders to develop a roadmap to implement constitutional and security sector reforms as matter of urgency and continue to support them in that regard.
Commenting on the issue, the SADC chairperson said that South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will continue to be a facilitator for a peace deal in Lesotho though President Jacob Zuma is no longer the chairman of SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
President Khama will hand over the chairmanship to King Mswati III next year at a summit in Swaziland.