Sadc chair breathes fire over sanctions

The new Sadc Chairperson, Tanzania’s President Dr John Magufuli, has called on the international community to remove sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, saying the country has “now opened a new chapter and is ready to engage with the rest of the world”.
In his acceptance speech after the official ceremonial handover of the chairmanship of the regional body at the 39th Ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Government in Dar es Salaam, President Magufuli called on the region to rally behind the push to lift the embargo.
The illegal sanctions, he pointed out, did not only affect Zimbabwe but indeed the entire Southern African region.
“It would certainly be remiss of me to end my speech without saying anything on Zimbabwe,” he said.
“As we are all aware, this brotherly and sisterly country has been on sanctions for a long time. These sanctions have not only affected the people of Zimbabwe and their Government but our entire region.
“It is like a human body: when you chop one of its parts, it affects the whole body. Therefore, I would like to seize this opportunity to urge the international community to lift up sanctions it imposed on Zimbabwe.
“This brotherly country, after all, has now opened a new chapter and it is ready to engage with the rest of the world.
“It is, therefore, I believe, in the interest of all parties concerned to see these sanctions removed. In this respect, I wish also to urge all Sadc member states to continue to speak with one voice on the issue of Zimbabwe.”
Earlier, the new chair of the Sadc Council of Ministers Mr Palamagamba Kabudi — who is Tanzania’s Minister of Foreign Affairs — told the media that a resolution calling for the removal of sanctions was part of 107 draft resolutions to be tabled at the Summit.
“The situation in Zimbabwe has normalised with the recent successful elections and a new political dispensation,” said Minister Kabudi.
President Magufuli officially took over as Chair of the bloc from Namibia’s President Hage Geingob.
Sadc said the continued embargo on Harare by the United States and the European Union was untenable, particularly in view of the progress that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration had made in political and economic reforms.
President Mnangagwa took over as the Chair of the Organ on Politics Defence and Security Co-operation.

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