New SADC chair Khama urges leaders to implement key plans

2015-08-19 13:42
Botswana's president Ian Khama. (File: AFP)

Botswana's president Ian Khama. (File: AFP)

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Gaborone – Botswanan President Ian Khama has reportedly urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders to "walk the talk" and implement the regional body's key plans.

Khama, who is the incoming SADC chairperson, said this in a speech to mark the end of the bloc's 35th summit of heads of state and government in Gaborone on Tuesday.

Khama appealed to leaders to expedite the implementation of the SADC trade and investment protocols so as to fast track industrialisation and foster regional economic integration, an SABC report said. 

"The people of Southern Africa will not judge us by adoption of key documents alone, but rather by the outcomes achieved following implementation. It goes without say that we need each other if we are to prosper as a region," Khama was quoted as saying.

Rights abuses

Khama took over the SADC chairmanship from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, a move viewed by analysts as giving the bloc some long-sought teeth to reject dictatorship, rights abuses and electoral fraud in the sub-region, the Daily News reported.

Khama, who is set to step down as Botswana's president in 2018, is one of the few African leaders who has managed over the years to stand up to dictators.

He was the only African leader who stood with Western countries in 2013 following an "overwhelming" victory by Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party in elections that were dismissed by opposition parties as a "farce".

A tweet by Amnesty International on Wednesday called on Khama to put pressure on "leaders of countries where rights violations are prevalent".

Read more on:    sadc  |  robert mugabe  |  ian khama  |  botswana  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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