SADC meets to review DRC, Mozambique security situations

An extraordinary summit of the SADC Organ Troika, Plus SADC Troika, will convene here today to consider progress reports on the region’s peace and security missions in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.

Apart from members of the SADC Organ Troika and the SADC Troika, the summit includes countries that have contributed troops to the SADC mission in DRC, known as SAMIDRC, and those with troops in the Mozambican mission called SAMIM.

Both the DRC and Mozambique are also part of the summit.

The SADC Organ Troika is made up of Zambia, as chair, Tanzania, as the incoming chair and Namibia, as the outgoing chair.

The SADC Troika comprises Angola, as the chair of SADC, Zimbabwe, as the incoming chair and the DRC as the outgoing chair.

Countries contributing troops to the Mozambican mission are Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

For the DRC there have been troops from Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania to work with the government in suppressing insurgency in the east.

Ahead of the meeting today, the ministerial committee of the organ held its extraordinary meeting yesterday to consider reports from security chiefs from the region, who were meeting earlier in the week.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Ambassador Frederick Shava, who attended the ministerial committee meeting, said they received progress reports on the deployments and operations of the SADC missions in both the DRC and Mozambique.

“The meeting considered the security situation in eastern DRC and in Mozambique,” he said. “In addition, it considered the status of finances for the two missions and discussed resource mobilisation support from international cooperating partners.

 “The meeting adopted a total of nine decisions drawn from the aforementioned agenda. These agenda items will feed into the Extra-Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, scheduled to be held here, in Lusaka, on 23 March 2024 (today).”

Ambassador Shava said the meeting noted that while the eastern DRC was relatively stable, acts of aggression by armed hostile groups and negative forces had the potential to aggravate the situation.

“As SADC Member States, we expressed solidarity with the DRC and pledged to capacitate and support the SADC Mission deployed in the DRC. Zimbabwe expressed its solidarity with intervention initiatives by SADC,” he said.

“The meeting also expressed condolences to the families and troop-contributing countries who lost loved ones in the course of duty in the DRC.”

 Regarding the security situation in Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique, the meeting noted an improvement in the general situation owing to the contributions of SADC forces, said Dr Shava.

“In view of the pending withdrawal of our mission in Mozambique later this year, we emphasised the need to ensure that the gains attained by SAMIM are not reversed,” he said.

“As SADC Member States, we also discussed the financial capacity of our missions in the two countries and noted efforts by the SADC Secretariat to mobilise funds from international cooperating partners. I wish to note that the status of finances for our missions in the DRC and Mozambique remains dire owing to delayed payments of Member States’ contributions.

“As such, SADC Member States were urged to remit their contributions on time. I am glad to say that Zimbabwe is among those countries that have fully remitted their contributions.”

Officially opening the ministers’ meeting, Zambian Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Mr Mulambo Haimbe said with regards to Mozambique, a lot of gains had been made to restore peace and security in Cabo Delgado. He implored the Mozambican government to maintain the gains if the SADC mission was to withdraw in July as envisaged.

The SADC Organ Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government held on August 16, 2023 endorsed the extension of the Mozambican mission by 12 months from July 16 last year to July 15 this year in preparation for its exit.

The same summit also directed that the mission’s leadership commence a phased withdrawal by 15 December last year and complete the withdrawal in July this year.

“Our deliberations this afternoon will enable us to look at the report on the progress made by the SAMIM leadership towards these endeavours and to receive a report from SAMIM leadership as well as the government of the Republic of Mozambique in that regard,” said Mr Haimbe.

“A lot of gains have been made by SAMIM which resulted in the repossession of previous areas that had been occupied by the insurgents. We, therefore, want to implore our sister country of the Republic of Mozambique that the gains that have been made so far should be maintained upon SAMIM complete withdrawal.”

The 43rd Ordinary SADC Summit of Heads States and Government held in August last year in Angola approved the deployment of the SADC mission in the DRC, and this mission also came under review, said Mr Haimbe.

SADC Executive Secretary Mr Elias Magosi said SADC was seized with the security problems in eastern DRC and Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado in the spirit of solidarity.

Herald

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