- Published on Monday, 19 August 2013 03:50
- Written by MAULID AHMED in Lilongwe
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- Tanzanian Stergomena Tax Bamwenda wins SADC top post
PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete on Sunday handed over the chairmanship of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) organ for Security, Defence and Politics (TROIKA) that was marked with notable successes and challenges.
Among the notable successes recorded during his tenure include the elections recently held in Zimbabwe where President Robert Mugabe retained his post in the elections hailed as ‘’fair and peaceful’’.
Handing over the chairmanship to Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Mr Kkwete said that the post had its challenges but added that through the cooperation of member states, they managed to overcome them.
“The process to gather opinions and introduce a new constitution in Zimbabwe and the successful completion of elections last month despite the limited time to prepare for the same is one of the achievements of our tenure," he said.
He said that SADC had managed to send a team of observers during the gathering of opinions for a new constitution and during elections unlike previous years, this year people had the opportunity to elect their leaders of choice freely.
“The SADC observer team gave out early reports about the elections saying that they were free and fair, noting that that they were also peaceful. We are waiting for the final report according to pour guidelines as SADC," he said.
Meanwhile, as the SADC heads of of state and government approved the nomination of Dr Stergomena Tax Bamwenda from Tanzania as the regional economic grouping’s Executive Secretary, the majority see the appointment as a sign of growing integration between the member states.
Dr Bamwenda, who is Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Cooperation, becomes the first woman for the post, replacing Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomao who served in the job for eight years.
She was voted during the 33rd session of SADC Heads of States summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi on Saturday. The Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Mr Bernard Membe, said Dr Bamwenda won by 79 per cent of the votes beating Seychelles Minister for Investment, Natural Resources and Industry, Peter Sinon, who managed 72 per cent of the votes.
“This is the first time for a woman to hold such high post in the community and we are truly honored to have a formidable candidate to secure such a post,” added Mr Membe.
A delighted Ms Joyce Mapunjo, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said Tanzania will use the opportunity to ensure that the business community gets a better deal.
“She was permanent secretary in this ministry before me and I believe in her skills and competence. She can operate effectively for the betterment of enhanced trade cooperation in the region said Ms Mapunjo The Executive Director of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Mr Godfrey Simbeye, predicted a bright future for the local business community with Dr Bamwenda at the SADC helm.
He said while at the East Africa Cooperation Ministry, Dr Bamwenda strived for the growing business integrations in the SADC, COMESA and East Africa Community.
“She was pushing for integration to have one block and revive the country free trade area to broaden the business opportunity. With her in that post, I am sure it will work out this time,” he said Speaking after she was sworn in, Dr Bamwenda said she was delighted with the victory the fact that Tanzania entrusted her to represent it in the community.
"I thank President Jakaya Kikwete for his trust in me and recommendation for the position. I will try my level best to accomplish my duties in the community," she remarked. Dr Bamwenda added that she will collaborate with other member states to push forward the integration agenda in SADC and also ensure development and peace as the two are crucial in fighting poverty.