By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |
Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri says Zimbabwe is on top of the situation, helping Mozambique battle an insurgency from Islamist militants since 2017 in the north of the country.
On Monday, President Filipe Nyusi said Southern African Development Community (SADC) forces were making progress in the strategically important, gas-rich province of Cabo Delgado which was heavily affected by the insurgency.
Last week in the Senate, Masvingo Senator Tichinani Mavetera asked the Defence Minister what the government was doing to make sure that challenges facing Mozambique would not affect Zimbabwe.
“I do understand the importance of regional cooperation on issues of this matter, but I also submit through you that the effect, unfortunately, we are affected differently as a people of SADC region and it is not a secret that as Zimbabwe, we are more affected than any other country.
“As ordinary citizens who are going to suffer, are the arrangements which are there, (we are not saying we should be told the nitty gritties), enough to take care of our national interests as Zimbabweans or they may become a point where we may also as a nation take our responsibility to defend our country and to advance the national interests of our citizens? I thank you,” he asked.
In her response, Muchinguri said that the threats that are coming from Mozambique are not as direct as the country experienced some years ago when Mozambican rebels destroyed two stretches of the strategic Beira oil pipeline and killed 87 enemy soldiers in a series of attacks in July 1987. She added that Zimbabwe had to react because there was a direct attack.
“Zimbabwe had to react because there was a direct attack on its own interests. In this case, the level of threats is indirect. As I have indicated, we are taking a regional posture because of the definition of the threats,” she said.
Muchinguri said the Mozambican insurgency has no direct impact on Zimbabwe but the country is monitoring the situation.
“There are situations where Mozambique, in a way, has a direct responsibility up to some point but of course, other waters belong to the whole international community. We need to define the rate of threat. In our case, it is not a direct threat, but if it threatens Zimbabwe at bilateral level, definitely, because we have bilateral relations with Mozambique which we did before.
“If there is a threat, we will not hesitate. We will definitely come to Parliament to seek your support but as it is, yes there are some threats and we continue to monitor developments in the area.
“I cannot divulge much but intelligence has it that there is some movement or manoeuvring. We are monitoring and the nation has to take comfort that we are on top of that situation, but there is no threat at the moment,” she said. Nehanda Radio