Chinamasa, Mtetwa assume SADC duties

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Harare (New Ziana) – Former Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Ambassador Andrew Mtetwa are set to begin their new roles in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Panel of Elders (PoE) and Mediation Reference Group (MRG) respectively after being sworn into office in Botswana on Monday.

The two Zimbabweans were appointed to the PoE and MRG in January, platforms which form part of the SADC Mediation and Conflict Prevention and Preventative Diplomacy structure that was established by the SADC Heads of State and Government in August 2014.

The organs are also meant to foster political and security stability in the region through the prevention and resolution of significant inter-state and intra-state conflicts.

Other SADC PoE members who received appointment letters included former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, former Vice President of Mauritius Paramasivum Pillay B. Vyapoory, and Charles Tibone, a former Minister, and permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Botswana.

Serving with Mtetwa in the MRG include Ambassador Molosiwa Selepeng, former Botswana High Commissioner to Australia, Ambassador Lucy Mungoma, former Zambian ambassador to Italy, and Hellen Lwegasira,  a Mediation and Negotiation expert from Tanzania.

In a statement, Sadc said the appointments to the SADC PoE and MRG were for a four-year term and were made following approval by the 41st Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government held in Lilongwe, Malawi in August 2021.

Botswana President and outgoing chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Mokgweetsi Masisi presented letters of appointment to the members of the PoE and MRG.
“The SADC Panel of Elders (PoE) and Mediation Reference Group (MRG) received their appointment letters after attending an induction meeting organised by the SADC Secretariat,” it said.

“At the meeting, H.E Dr Kikwete, the former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Vice–President of the Republic of Mauritius Mr. Vyapoory were appointed as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the PoE respectively, while Amb. Mungoma from Zambia and Ms Lwegasila from the United Republic of Tanzania were elected as Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson for the MRG respectively.”

President Masisi urged key policy and decision-making structures in the SADC region to make use of the expertise of the SADC PoE and MRG.

The MRG will serve as a technical advisory arm of the PoE, in fostering greater political involvement in issues that threaten to undermine peace in the sub-region.

The two structures comprise of eminent personalities that include former Heads of State and Government and former government Ministers from SADC countries who were appointed for their reputable and demonstrable political and technical expertise in conflict resolution, preventative diplomacy, and mediation.

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