SADC has directed its Secretariat to find a mechanism of bestowing honour to its founding fathers who met in Lusaka, Zambia on 1stApril 1980 to establish the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), precursor to SADC, after a series of consultations by representatives of the Frontline States to forge closer alliance.
“Summit directed the Secretariat to develop a mechanism to honour the legacy of the SADC Founding Fathers, to be submitted for consideration at the next Ordinary Summit,” said SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stegomena Lawrence Tax reading from a communiqué.
The honours will target leaders of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Former Malawi first President Hastings Kamuzu Banda represented Malawi at that maiden meeting and will be honoured.
Among the nine founding fathers who cobbled the SADC we have today, only Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda may receive the honours in person.
As expected SADC made the decision after taking a cue for Mugabe, who as one of the remaining older statesmen usually sets the agenda and path for SADC.
During his farewell speech as SADC outgoing Chairperson Mugabe at the 35th Summit of Heads of State and Government implored on leaders to the founding fathers.
He noted that nothing has been done to pay tribute to those that sacrificed and dedicated their lives to the ideals of attaining political freedom and deepening regional integration.
“Let us remember those that have endowed us with this legacy. This could be in the form of something. Can’t we have a fund in their honour?” Mugabe is quoted as saying.