SADCâ€™s former secretary-general, Dr Praga Ramsamy, has warned the Southern African regional grouping to come up with a strategic economic master-plan for the industrialisation of the region using its own abundant resources.
Dr Ramsamy was speaking at a lecture organised by a local non-governmental organisation, Ida Zimbabwe, in Harare this Tuesday.
Dr Ramsamy told participants at the lecture that SADC stands to lose its resources to outsiders if it does not come up with the master-plan for industrialisation and integration in the region.
He also spoke about the involvement of SADC in the Zimbabwean issue, saying the regional body has always stood behind Zimbabwe, adding that the region should resist regime change as it is only the people who have the right to change governments.
Concerning the Global Political Agreement, Dr Ramsamy warned Zimbabweans and SADC to guard against the vested interests of third parties in the mediation process, saying the immense mineral wealth in the country and other SADC countries such as Madagascar are a major attraction to some external sources who seek to siphon resources.
Another speaker at the forum, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, bemoaned the over-dependency of SADC on northern economies and stressed the importance of the regional body in upholding pan-Africanism in the region and the African Union.
He also castigated civil society for siding with political party politics instead of standing up for the needs and rights of the ordinary people and working for national convergence.
The lecture, which was organised by a group which went to Windhoek in an attempt to lobby SADC to be tough on Zimbabwe, comes at a time the region is preparing for the Tripartite Summit to be held in South Africa on the 11th of June.
At the Tripartite Summit, SADC will examine the issue of Zimbabwe, specifically the roadmap.
Zanu PFâ€™s position is that the GPA, which stipulates that a constitution should be put in place within 18 months followed by election within two years, is the agreed road map, meaning no new document should be written regarding elections in Zimbabwe.
The meeting also seeks to clarify some issues mentioned in the Livingstone Report which Zanu PF says was based on misrepresentation of facts by the MDC-T.
The issue was deferred at the Windhoek summit after Cde Mugabe had requested that the discussion be held in the presence of other parties to the GPA.