The Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) commends His Excellency, President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, for his bold decision to step down from his position of Head of State of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and his lifetime commitment to serving Zimbabwe and the SADC region. This decision will be remembered and cherished by SADC as a clear demonstration of true Statesmanship, and part of the legacy of President Mugabe.
Since its formation, SADC has benefited and valued the contribution of President Mugabe, as a true champion of Pan-Africanism, and in the promotion of regional co-operation, development and integration.
He will be remembered by SADC as an exemplary freedom fighter in the liberation struggle for Zimbabwe’s independence and as one of the Founding Fathers of our cherished SADC. As a liberation icon, President Mugabe offered a message of hope and unity to millions of his compatriots when he became the first black Prime Minister of the newly independent Zimbabwe on 18 April 1980.
As Chairperson of SADC, between 2014 and 2015, President Mugabe steered the development and adoption of the SADC Industrialization Strategy and Roadmap (2015-2063). Through the Strategy, President Mugabe envisaged the transformation of SADC economies from being raw resource-dependent to economies that benefit from value-addition and beneficiation, and economies that are technology driven.
During his last visit to the SADC Secretariat Headquarters in May 2015, President Mugabe emphasised the need to achieve the SADC vision, that of a Common Future for the people of Southern African.
“As we forge ahead, let us all work towards the fulfilment of our vision by building a region in which there will be a high degree of integration and harmonisation,” he said. President Mugabe further said that “this is not an option, but an imperative, if we are to meet the genuine expectations of our people.” His appeal will continue to drive us as a region, until we have attained that common vision.
We also commend the people of Zimbabwe for conducting themselves in a steady, mature and peaceful manner during this historic transition and transfer of power that the SADC Region, the African continent, and the world have witnessed. SADC is confident that Zimbabweans will remain committed to the development of their country.
As Zimbabweans enter a new political epoch, SADC stands ready to work closely with the Incoming President, his Government and the People of Zimbabwe.
As SADC, we reaffirm our commitment to the African Union Constitutive Act and SADC democratic principles. We are confident that Zimbabwe, as a member to both the African Union and SADC, will continue upholding these principles, while upholding principles enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
H. E. Stergomena Lawrence Tax the Executive Secretary of SADC