Late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was honoured this week as one of the SADC founding leaders.
The honour was bestowed on him along with 7 other leaders of Souther African states who came together to form The Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC).
All the founding leaders are now late.
List of the SADC Founding leaders
- Angola: Agostinho Neto (died 10 September 1979)
- Botswana: Seretse Khama (died 13 July 1980)
- Eswatini: King Sobhuza (died 21 August 1982)
- Mozambique: Samora Machel (died 19 October 1986)
- Malawi: Hastings Kamuzu Banda (died 25 November 1997)
- Tanzania: Julius Nyerere (died 14 October 1999)
- Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe (died 6 Sept 2019)
- Zambia: Kenneth Kaunda (died 17 June 2021)
The legacy of leadership left behind by the SADC founding leaders is mixed. Some leaders, like Mugabe, while being credited for advancing the interest of Africans in education and land ownership, are criticised for leading extremely corrupt governments and failing to navigate international power dynamics.
Mugabe left power unceremoniously in a coup executed by the military and apparently co-planned by his then ousted deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa. It was President Mnangagwa this week who handed over the medal of honour to Mugabe’s widow, Grace Mugabe.
SADC as a regional bloc also has also had limited success in integrating it’s members states to allow for freer movement and trade. In South Africa, for example, immigrants from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique are increasingly viewed undesiresables even by senior members of key political parties ANC.
Africans in SADC Bloc also still require passports to enter the member countries and cannot freely work or establish businesses without first attaining work or business permits, which are generally hard to get.