Zim media hails Mugabe’s SADC tenure

2015-08-17 11:56
President Robert Mugabe. (AFP)

President Robert Mugabe. (AFP)

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Harare – Zimbabwe's state-run media has hailed President Robert Mugabe's Southern African Development Community (SADC) tenure as "successful" and "historic".

In its editorial comment on Monday, The Herald newspaper praised the veteran leader, saying he had steered the SADC ship to its founding values.

This comes as Mugabe, 91, is expected to hand over the one-year chairmanship to Botswana President Ian Khama at the 35th summit of heads of state and government to be held in Gaborone.

The two-day summit, which begins on Monday, will be held under the theme: "Accelerating industrialisation of SADC Economies Through Transformation of Natural Endowment and Improved Human Capital."

Rights abuses

"It's worth remembering that from assuming the chair at a time the region was seized with three hotspots in the DRC, Lesotho and Madagascar; president Mugabe hands over the chair at a time leaders are seized with only the situation in Lesotho which suffered an attempted coup," The Herald said.

Mugabe took over the SADC reigns last year from Malawi’s president Peter Mutharika.

Critics, however, view Mugabe’s surrender to Khama as giving the bloc some long-sought teeth to reject dictatorship, rights abuses and electoral fraud in the sub-region.

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

Dramatic tenure

A report by the Zimbabwe Independent said Mugabe’s leadership as both the SADC and African Union (AU) chair has exposed how the nonagenarian has lost respect and stature among the continent’s leaders.

The report said the tenure exposed Mugabe's "fading legacy".

"Hopes by his inner circle and admirers that he would have a dramatic tenure and leave a lasting legacy on the continent were largely dashed because of the age gap and contrasting viewpoints between him and the younger breed of African leaders," the report said.

Mugabe was in May stripped of his security protection in Nigeria during the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as new leader of the west African country. He was left vulnerable to pressure and harassment by the country's journalists who asked him embarrassing questions: "Don't you think it’s time to step down sir? ... "When will there be change in Zimbabwe?"

Watch the video below.

Mugabe was also denied entry into Ivory Coast when he tried to attend a meeting of the African Development Bank in that country.

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

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