Elevate women on merit: Mugabe

He said the region had seen a shift in the trend of political leadership as more women occupied influential positions of leadership.

“However, let me also say, choosing a woman leader should not be because one is a woman, but one must be qualified,” he said.

He said this during a vote of thanks at a State Banquet hosted by Lesotho’s King Letsie 3rd for SADC Heads of State and Government attending the summit which ended on Friday.

The SADC council of ministers had noted the slow progress made so far by member countries towards the attainment of the 50 per cent representation of women in decision making.

President Mugabe said a number of countries in the region had appointed women vice presidents, a situation, he described as positive towards achieving the women representation mark.

“On the scene, women are moving very fast, we have already seen some countries appointing women presidents so there is no doubt that one day we will have one woman president in SADC region,” he said.

President Mugabe meanwhile said the SADC community was one of the most peaceful regions of the world and urged member countries to take advantage of the existing political harmony to tap the economic potential in various states for the overall development of the community.

He said the region had great potential in mining, agriculture and trade and called on member countries to collaborate and ensure the joint implementation of development projects.

“We are overjoyed by the peace and stability achieved in the region, we have one of the most peaceful regions in Africa if not the entire world,” the President said.

“Deliberate policies are needed to tap such potential and achieve development, we can work jointly in implementing various SADC development programmes in order to achieve economic growth,” he added.

Mugabe said recent upheavals in the Middle East that resulted in loss of several lives were a sad development.

He accused some leaders in countries that are regarded as sources of peaceful and civilized solutions to conflicts and other human differences as the ones behind conflicts in Asia.

“The situation in Lebanon is a patch in our international affairs that we are going through, it is that those that regard themselves as sources of civilized solutions have become great hypocrites, some of such leaders are aiding agencies to cause massive upheavals,” he said. ‘ Zanis-New Ziana.

August 2006
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