By Fungi Kwaramba
SADC member states have resolved to deploy a force to help Mozambique contain insurgency in its northern provinces where terrorists have left a trail of destruction that also threatens regional peace.
The decision was adopted at the 16-member regional bloc Extraordinary Summit that was held in Maputo, Mozambique, yesterday.
More than 3 000 people are estimated to have been killed by the insurgents, with 800 000 displaced from their homes in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado province since four years ago.
President Mnangagwa was part of the Heads of State and Government who resolved to deploy troops on Mozambican soil at the request of Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi.
At the end of the day-long summit, that was also attended by Botswana President Mokgweetsi Keabetswe Masisi, DRC President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, Lesotho Prime Minister Dr Moeketsi Majoro, Malawi President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, Mozambican President Nyusi, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and the United Republic of Tanzania President Samia Suluhu Hassan, SADC executive secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax said the region’s troops are ready.
“Summit endorsed the recommendations of the Report of the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and approved the Mandate for the SADC Standby Force Mission to the Republic of Mozambique, to be deployed in support of Mozambique to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado,” she said.
Apart from deploying an army, SADC, Dr Tax said, will in collaboration with Humanitarian Agencies continue providing humanitarian support to those affected by the terrorist attacks in Cabo Delgado.
With the region walking hand in hand in securing peace and ensuring food and nutrition security, the summit took a moment to remember one of the founders of SADC, the late Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda, who died last week.
“Summit expressed deepest condolences to former President Dr Kaunda’s family, His Excellency Dr President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the government and the People of the Republic of Zambia following the passing on of HE Dr Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda, first President of the Republic of Zambia and the last surviving founding father of SADC and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the fore-runner of the African Union (AU); and paid tribute to late former President Dr Kaunda for the pivotal role he played in the liberation struggle, and for laying a solid foundation for regional integration of Southern Africa,” said Dr Tax.
In a recorded video to commemorate the region’s anniversary before his death, the late Dr Kaunda urged SADC leaders and citizens to be bound together forever in the pursuit of the lofty vision of the regional bloc founding fathers who wanted to nurture peace, eradicate poverty, and entrench the principles of democracy.
Founded in 1992, as a successor to the Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a regional economic bloc comprising 16 member states namely Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The organisation was established in 1992, with a thrust towards regional integration and poverty eradication within Southern Africa through economic development and ensuring peace and security.
The summit also discussed regional food and nutrition security, gender and development, and progress in the regional response to HIV and AIDS and Covid-19 pandemic.
It reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the theme of the 40th SADC Summit that says ‘‘SADC: 40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges’’, which was endorsed by the SADC Summit in August, 2020.
President Mnangagwa returned home last night and was received by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga and several Government ministers. The Herald