All hands on deck as Sadc seeks sustainable peace, stability His Excellency Elias Magosi

Kizito Sikuka in Kinshasa, DRC

THE resolve by which southern Africa engages itself on matters of peace and security is unwavering and unquestionable since the vision of the region is anchored on a strong belief that political stability is the foundation of all initiatives towards socio-economic development.

The Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), His Excellency Elias Magosi said this in his address to the Ministerial Committee of the Organ on Peace and Security held on 16 August ahead of the Sadc Summit Troika of the Organ which met later in the day.

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa

The Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation comprises President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa as chairperson, President Hage Geingob of Namibia (incoming chair), and President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana (immediate previous chair) and is responsible for promoting peace and security in the region

HE Magosi said to achieve political stability and security, Sadc Member States should continue to collectively as well as individually implement integrated strategies on conflict resolution and mediation facilitated by a strong early warning system to ensure that the region is at all times prepared for all security threats.

For example, the deployment of the Sadc Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) in July 2021 has helped to combat instability in northern Mozambique following increased acts of extremism, terrorism and insurgency that have left thousands of people dead and displaced.

“The Member States’ continued support to SAMIM through both financial contributions and extension of capabilities needs to be appreciated as it is a true reflection of our solidarity against a common enemy,” he said.

With respect to the situation in eastern DRC, where a rebel group known as M23 has resumed its terrorist attacks, Magosi said the region is keenly and closely monitoring events.

“The region is equally concerned about the security situation of the DRC, in particular, the new challenges brought by the emergence of the M23,” he said, adding that “eastern DRC remains high on the Sadc agenda.”

He said the vision towards a peaceful region is enshrined in the Sadc Vision 2050 and the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030, which were both approved in 2020.

The Sadc Vision 2050 envisions a peaceful, inclusive, competitive, middle-to-high income industrialised region, where all citizens enjoy sustainable economic wellbeing, justice and freedom.

On the other hand, the Sadc RISDP (2020-2030) is the regional plan which prioritises regional integration issues of infrastructure development, industrial development and market integration, social and human capital development and other crosscutting issues including the environment, climate change, disaster risk management, gender and youth empowerment.

“Our promise to the Member States is to ensure the resilience of our structures, adherence to our principles and values, in collaboration with strategic partners at both regional, continental and global level, and facilitating timely decision making,” Magosi said.

The outgoing chairperson of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ, Dr Naledi Pandor concurred saying without peace, Sadc will not achieve its longstanding goals of a united, prosperous and integrated region.

As such, there was a need for Member States to continue working together to promote stability in the region.

“We are well aware of the fact that complete sustainable peace and stability will not be achieved overnight,” Dr Pandor, who is also the South African Minister of International Relations and Co-operation said.

Dr Naledi Pandor

“However, we are encouraged by the progress our region continues to register towards peace and stability.”

Minister Pandor also urged Member States that are holding elections this year to conduct them in accordance with regional and international standards.

Angola and the Kingdom of Lesotho are this year expected to go to the polls, and the region is set to deploy the Sadc Election Observation Mission (SEOM) to these countries.

The SEOM, which will be guided by the provisions and requirements of the Constitutions of the countries holding elections, will observe the elections in three phases: the pre-election period, election-day and post-election.

After the elections, the SEOM is expected to issue a comprehensive report on the conduct of the polls in accordance with the provisions of the revised Sadc Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections. —

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