WINDHOEK: President Hifikepunye Pohamba is expected to lead a powerful delegation to the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s 32nd Heads of State and Government Summit slated for Mozambique’s capital city, Maputo.
The President and First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba leave for Maputo on Thursday, while an advance team left for the summit on Tuesday already.
That team includes Minister of Foreign Affairs Utoni Nujoma and Works and Transport Minister Erkki Nghimtina, as well as other senior Government officials occupying different positions in various ministries, including Permanent Secretaries, Deputy Permanent Secretaries, executive directors, under-secretaries from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Works and Transport; Trade and Industry; Finance; Gender Equality and Child Welfare; Education; as well as National Planning Commission (NPC) representatives.
The summit will kick off with the Council of Ministers’ meeting on Wednesday, where the Minister of External Relations of Angola and outgoing chairperson of the Council of Ministers, George Rebelo Chicoti, will hand over the Council’s Chairmanship to Mozambique’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Oldemiro Julio Marques Baloi.
Baloi and SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Augusto Salomao jointly launched the 32nd Heads of State and Government Summit preparations on 02 August.
On the agenda for the summit is the crisis in Madagascar, which was sparked when Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina overthrew his rival Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the military in 2009.
The Madagascan government has announced that elections will be held next year, but is opposed to Ravalomanana returning to the country to contest the vote as they argue that he is disqualified from doing so because of a criminal conviction.
Also to be discussed is the political crisis in Zimbabwe, which has seen President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai, pitted against each other.
Meanwhile, the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation congregated in Pretoria last week for their 14th meeting, which was aimed at charting a way forward for the region and the upcoming SADC Heads of State and Government Summit.
During the official opening ceremony of the 2012 ordinary SADC Summit, President of Malawi Joyce Banda, Zambian President Michael Sata and Prime Minister of Lesotho Tom Thabane will deliver their maiden speeches.
Other dignitaries scheduled to deliver statements ahead of the keynote address by SADC chairperson, President Jose Edward dos Santos of Angola, and the ceremonial handing-over of the SADC Chairperson’s Badge to the incoming SADC chairperson President Armando Emilio Guebuza, will be from the African Union Commission, African Development Bank and the United Nations’ Economic Commission.
The summit will conclude with the presentation of the First Spouses’ Declaration to the Summit by Mozambican First Lady Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza, followed by the closing statement by President Guebuza and the reading of the Summit Communique by SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Augusto Salomao.
President Pohamba and his delegation are expected back in Namibia on Sunday.