Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network
Aug 20 (GIN) – After a standing ovation and a seemingly interminable chorus of clapping and ululating, newly-re-elected President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe gave a fist salute to the crowd at the Bingu International conference Centre Hall where the South African Development Community (SADC) summit was held.
Leaders of the 15 nation SADC, which had monitored Mugabe’s recent election, announced the appointment of Mugabe as deputy chair of the group. This means President Mugabe will become the next chair of the regional grouping next year after Malawi completes her one-year term and Harare will host the bloc’s Heads of State and Government.
The Summit was held in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe.
The development is a clear sign yet that regional leaders accept results of the July 31 elections and are confident of Zimbabwe’s political future.
Mugabe took the opportunity to scorn his critics in the international community. “I have nothing to do with the British, I have nothing to do with the Americans,” said the 89-year-old Zimbabwean leader. “We make our decisions as African people, and those are the decisions we go by.”
“I am Robert Mugabe, a Zimbabwean and African,” said the 89 year old African leader.
On Sunday the regional body called for “the lifting of all forms of sanctions hitherto imposed on Zimbabwe”, leveled against the veteran president and blacklisted firms and individuals.
“Zimbabweans have suffered enough,” said the regional bloc’s incoming chairperson, President Joyce Banda of Malawi.
Meanwhile, in a not unexpected development, Zimbabwe’s constitutional court upheld the disputed election, calling it free, fair and credible.
“The presidential election held on July 31, 2013 was in accordance with the laws of Zimbabwe,” said Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku on Tuesday.
One test of the president’s new economic initiative will be the fulfillment of promises to war veterans, ex-detainees and the 230,000-strong public sector workers who are all expected to see an upward adjustment in their salaries.
Meanwhile, the United States remains opposed to lifting sanctions against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his aides.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday the U.S. program of what it calls “targeted” sanctions will remain in force as long as “serious flaws” persist in Zimbabwe’s electoral process.