African heads of state and government in the Southern Africa region plan to meet at a two-day summit beginning Saturday in the Malawi capital, Lilongwe.
“This is where the leaders meet to look into the progress made and also the change of leadership of SADC from one country to another,” said Tanki Mothae, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) director of politics, defense and security cooperation.
“As it is now, Mozambique is handing over to Malawi, [and] at the organ level the chairperson of the organ is now going to change from Tanzania to Namibia,” Mothae said.
The leaders will discuss the progress report on regional security and political and economic relations between member states, he said.
“They will look at the implementation of the programs and the decisions they took in Mozambique last year and also look at emerging issues,” said Mothae. “They will also look at the political and security issues in the region, and see whether or not they are moving forward in the level of implementation of the decision they took last year.”
Some analysts say the situation in Zimbabwe should be high on the leaders’ agenda at the summit. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is mounting a legal challenge against President Robert Mugabe’s electoral victory in the July 31st general election.
Mothae said the leaders will discuss elections in the entire Southern African region.
“They will also talk about the referendum, the elections [and] the progress in [Zimbabwe], the situation in the DRC and how far they have gone with the implementation of the peace and security and the critical framework which was signed in February, and the implementation of the U.N. Security Council resolution 2098,” he said.
“They will also look at the issue in Madagascar as well as even the elections that would be held in the region in 2014,” added Mothae.
He said Malawi is ready to host the two-day summit despite concerns that the government in Lilongwe was not ready.
“Malawi is very ready. We have been here now for a week and we have held meetings from the senior official levels to prepare for the summit, so Malawi is more than ready to host the summit,” he said.
Foreign ministers from the region met during the week in preparation for the heads of state summit this weekend.