PREPARATIONS for the 34th Sadc Summit to be held in Victoria Falls are at an advanced stage with the cash-strapped government banking on financial support from the private and corporate sectors.
Elias Mambo/Wongai Zhangazha
The Sadc summit will kick off on August 8-9 with a finance sub-committee meeting, followed by a standing committee meeting of senior officials including the finance committee on August 10-12, a council of ministers meeting on August 14-15, and finally the Summit of Heads of State and Governments on August 17 and 18.
Investigations by the Zimbabwe Independent revealed that the government is hiring a 30x60m air-conditioned tent from a prominent event management company which specialises in rental equipment.
Investigations suggested hiring the tent for three days costs US$86 000 and accommodation at the Elephant Hills resort has already been secured for 700 high level delegates expected to attend the Sadc Heads of State and Government Summit.
A source at the Elephant Hills Resort last week said there were tensions between government and the hotel concerning the bookings as the state initially wanted the hotel to stop taking clients for August.
“Government had said the hotel should not provide accommodation services for the month of August yet it has not even paid for its delegates,” said the source.
“The hotel is now using only 500 rooms because the other rooms are being renovated so some of the delegates have been booked in other hotels,” he said.
A fortnight ago Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said government would seek funding from the corporate sector.
“Everything is on course and the corporate sector has been very cooperative and supportive so far in the preparation,” he said.
Meanwhile as President Robert Mugabe’s takeover of the chairship of Sadc nears, concerns have been raised on tensions between Botswana and Zimbabwe following Botswana’s attack on Mugabe’s presidential victory in last year’s elections.
Botswana President Ian Khama, regarded as sympathetic to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, said there was need for an independent audit of the elections following allegations of Zanu PF vote rigging.
Botswana, which sent an 80-member observer team led by the country’s former Vice-President Lieutenant General Mompati Merafhe, cited numerous incidents which discredited the polls.
Botswana was the only Sadc country that gave a damning report on the elections.
However deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Chris Mutsvangwa, speaking on the sidelines of a tour of the Norton Special Economic Zones last week which he organised for ambassadors as Norton legislator said there are no tensions between Botswana and Zimbabwe.