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New SADC Chair Chakwera bemoans inequalities in accessing COVID-19 vaccines

LILONGWE, (The Southern African Times) – Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera, who is the new chairperson for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), has bemoaned inequalities and disparities in accessing COVID-19 vaccines across the globe.

Chakwera voiced the concern Tuesday when he accepted the Chair of the regional body at the 41st Ordinary Summit of the SADC Heads of State held in Malawi capital, Lilongwe.

The new SADC Chair said the inequalities and disparities must be tackled head on as they are seriously hindering efforts to save the lives of millions in the SADC.

“I want to make a larger point to the rest of the global community: The inequalities and disparities we are seeing in the distribution and production of COVID-19 vaccines are symptomatic of an old geopolitical framework that is no longer working, no longer sustainable, and no longer acceptable,” said Chakwera.

“I am referring to a framework that regards the world as an animal farm in which some nations are more equal than others; I am referring to a framework that regards some nationalities as more special than others; I am referring to a framework that regards some human lives as more worthy of saving than others,” he continued.

The SADC Chair said African countries are full members of the global community and that, as such, Africans have a moral duty to refuse to be treated as second class citizens, for the sake of the dignity of all human beings everywhere.

He further said time has come for Africans to insist that a vaccine that preserves and sustains a person’s basic right to life belongs to all nations, no matter who discovered it.

“I repeat,” added Chakwera, “treating African nations and nationals as second-class members of the global community is no longer acceptable. We do not accept it. We will not accept it. We cannot accept it.”

“At a regional level like SADC, this means recognizing that our truest friends in this world are not those who are satisfied to see us continue in our poverty so that they can sustain their messianic complex as our benefactors and liberators,” said him.

Most African countries, including SADC member states, have been accessing COVID-19 vaccine doses through the AU-COVAX Facility and donations leading to frequent stock-outs amid high demand of the vaccine across the continent.

The 41st Ordinary SADC Summit is being held under the theme Bolstering Productive capacities in the face of COVID-19 Pandemic for Inclusive, Sustainable, Economic and Industrial Transformation.

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