By Kizito Sikuka in Pretoria, South Africa
PRESIDENTS Seretse Khama Ian Khama of Botswana and his Angolan counterpart José Eduardo dos Santos are expected to bid farewell to fellow southern African leaders at the 37th SADC Heads of State and Government Summit in Pretoria, South Africa.
Both leaders are serving their last terms in office. Angola is preparing to hold parliamentary elections on 23 August, and President dos Santos will not be seeking re-election, having served the country since 1979 following the death of the founding President, Dr Agostinho Neto.
Botswana is expected to go to the polls in 2019. However, as per the tradition of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), President Khama is expected to step down next year and hand over power to Vice-President Mokgweetsi Masisi, who will lead the BDP in the 2019 elections.
Therefore, the 37th SADC Summit on 19-20 August will be the last for Presidents dos Santos and Khama and both are expected to deliver farewell statements.
According to the draft 37th SADC programme, dos Santos will give his farewell speech first followed by Khama, chronicling some of the achievements as well as challenges they experienced while leading SADC.
Both leaders have been instrumental in pushing the regional integration agenda forward, and are firm believers in the notion that SADC member states have a lot to gain from working together.
The 37th SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government will be held on 19-20 August and is running under the theme “Partnering with the private sector in developing industry and regional value-chains”.
At the summit, South African President Jacob Zuma will assume the rotating SADC chair from King Mswati III of Swaziland. The SADC Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the Community, ultimately making it the supreme policy-making institution of SADC.
It is made up of all SADC Heads of States or Government of Member States and is managed on a Troika system that comprises the current SADC Summit Chairperson, the incoming Chairperson (the Deputy at the time), and the immediate past Chairperson.
The Summit Troika is currently made up of King Mswati III of Swaziland (Chairperson), South African President Jacob Zuma (incoming Chairperson), and President Seretse Khama Ian Khama of Botswana (immediate past Chairperson).
The Summit Troika will change during the 37th SADC Summit when President Zuma assumes the chair.
It will now be made up of South Africa (Chair), Swaziland (immediate past Chair) and the SADC Member State that will be elected as Deputy Chairperson of SADC during summit.
The Troika System vests authority in this group of three leaders to take quick decisions on behalf of SADC that are ordinarily taken at policy meetings scheduled at regular intervals, as well as providing policy direction to SADC institutions between the regular SADC Summits. Other Member States may be co-opted into the Troika as necessary.
This system has been effective since it was established by the Summit at its annual meeting in Maputo, Mozambique in August 1999.
The Troika system operates at the level of the Summit, the Organ, the Council of Ministers, and the Standing Committee of Senior Officials.
The Summit usually meets once a year in August/September, although an Extra-Ordinary Summit can be held between ordinary Summits as necessary.
The SADC Organ on Politics Defence and Security Cooperation is also managed on a Troika basis and is responsible for promoting peace and security in the SADC region.
It is mandated to steer and provide Member States with direction regarding matters that threaten peace, security and stability in the region. It is coordinated at the level of Summit, consisting of a Chairperson, Incoming Chairperson and Outgoing Chairperson, and reports to the SADC Summit Chairperson.
The SADC Summit and the Organ Troika are mutually exclusive, and the Chairperson of the Organ does not simultaneously hold the chair of Summit. Like the Summit chair, the Organ chair rotates on an annual basis. The Organ structure, operations and functions are regulated by the Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation. sardc.net