Mugabe Elected Deputy Chairman, Southern African Development Community

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Newly re-elected Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe was named deputy chairman of the Southern African Development Community, a 15-member inter-governmental organization headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana.

Joyce Banda, president of the Republic of Malawi, was named chairwoman.

Frequently the subject of SADC discussions in the past decade, Mugabe was commended “for the peaceful manner in which the elections were conducted,” according to a report in AllAfrica.

South African President Jacob Zuma helped mediate in Zimbabwe over the past four years following a political crisis that resulted in the creation of a three-party coalition government whose mandate expired July 31 when the country held its latest elections, the report said.

The SADC held its 33rd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government in Lilongwe, Malawi in the past week, where it congratulated the Zanu-PF party and Mugabe for winning harmonious elections. The summit renewed its call to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe.

“I want the West to review its position on the sanctions in Zimbabwe,” Banda said in a report in the TheHerald. “Zimbabweans deserve better and Zimbabweans have suffered enough.”

President George W. Bush imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2003 and Barack Obama continued them, backed by the Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, TheHerald reported.

At the summit, SADC member countries congratulated Zuma for his role in the recent peaceful elections in Zimbabwe.

Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba replaced Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete as chairman of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense and Security.

Stergomena Lawrence Tax of Tanzania was elected executive secretary, replacing Tomaz Salamao.

The Southern African Development Community‘s goal is to further socio-economic co-operation and integration as well as political and security co-operation among 15 Southern African states. It complements the role of the African Union. SADC members include Angola,  Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi,  Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Mugabe won 61 percent of votes in Zimbabwe’s July 31 election while his opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, won 33 percent, according to a report in TheHerald. Mugabe’s Zanu-PF also won a two-thirds majority to dominate the forthcoming House of Assembly, giving it the power to amend laws without consulting other parties.