The new man at the helm of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) organ on politics, defence and security co-operation is Zambian president Edgar Lungu.
He will officially take up the position at this week’s summit of southern African countries in Windhoek, Namibia, replacing Angolan president Joao Lourenco.
Speaking ahead of the summit he pledged to provide consultative leadership to ensure sustained peace and security in the SADC region.
He met with SADC executive secretary Stergomena Tax at State House in Lusaka, Zambia and gave the assurance he was ready and committed to regional peace. He will consult widely and make use of the experience of his predecessor as well as other SADC heads of state and governments “to ensure durable peace and security in the region”.
Lungu noted progress on the establishment of the SADC regional logistics depot in Botswana and said he would contact and discuss the depot with Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose country has pledged financial support for the project.
Once complete the depot will be used as a general purpose equipment store for the civilian, military and police components of the SADC Standby Force.
During his term as chair of the regional bloc’s major defence and peace body, Lungu will oversee elections in no less than nine of the 15 SADC member states. They are Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.