Harare, (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe will back Botswana’s candidate to become the next executive secretary for the regional bloc, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) when it holds elections for the post in August, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said on Wednesday.
SADC holds its next summit in August in Malawi where a change of guard at its secretariat is expected, with current executive secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax stepping down after serving two terms.
President Masisi was in Zimbabwe on a one-day working visit, where he among other things solicitated support for Elias Magosi, his country’s candidate for the top post.
“I return to Botswana a thoroughly happy man because President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa has adopted one of our own in Botswana, in the name of Mr Elias Epedi Magosi who we have put forward as our candidate for the position of Executive Secretary for Sadc,” President Masisi told reporters at the end of his tour of duty.
The SADC executive secretary is, among other things, responsible for strategic planning, coordination and management of SADC programmes.
Magosi, who is currently the head of civil service in Botswana and a former senior employee of Sadc, will face off with the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fautin Luanga Mukela in the race for the post, if no other last minute candidates throw their hats into the ring.
President Masisi has been to Malawi, South Africa and Zambia to solicit support for Magosi, who if appointed, will become the first Batswana to head the regional body in its 41-year history.
SADC is headquartered in Botswana.
Meanwhile, the two leaders spoke about deepening bilateral relations, as cooperation in education and the security situation in the region particularly in Mozambique.
“We covered two significant areas, one of which is the direct cooperation between us, Zimbabwe and Botswana, in the education sector,” President Mnangagwa said.
“We are concerned about colonial education which we now want to put behind us and have education that produces goods and services for our people, so we are sharing how that can be achieved.”
President Masisi, is the current chairperson of SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, which also includes President Mnangagwa and South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa.