Four Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries were singled out for attention at this week’s meeting of the regional bloc’s extraordinary troika summit on peace and security in Namibia.
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eswatini, Lesotho and Mozambique were named in a communique issued post the summit, under the leadership of Namibian President Hage Geingob. Six countries – DRC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa – were represented by either presidents or senior ministers..
President Cyril Ramaphosa, the outgoing Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, attended the summit accompanied by Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise as well as Minister in The Presidency, Mondli Gungubele and Naledi Pandor of International Relations and Co-operation.
On the DRC, the summit noted the unstable situation in the east of the country, condemning an “upsurge” in conflict involving the M23 rebel group and support given to “armed groups by foreign forces”.
“The summit resolved to initiate dialogue among members of different regional economic communities (RECs) that have deployed forces in DRC, with a view to establish and implement mechanisms for effective co-ordination of their interventions.”
Landlocked Eswatini was urged to “urgently” initiate national dialogue as well as ensuring all stakeholders “remain calm and participate”. The murder of human rights lawyer and political activist Thulani Maseko was condemned and a call made for “a swift, transparent and comprehensive investigation”.
In another of the regional bloc’s landlocked countries – Lesotho – the Windhoek summit wants to see completion and implementation of the national reforms process. It commended Lesotho for recently conducting peaceful and successful elections.
The summit took note of what the communique termed “ongoing investigations” by SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) “following a disturbing video clip circulating on social media depicting what appears to be SAMIM personnel burning deceased people”. “The public will be informed once investigations are completed.”
It reiterated a call for member states to “urgently respond” to requests for critical capabilities to enhance SAMIM operational capability.
The summit adopted the draft African Union (AU) declaration on the United State’s proposed “Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act” urging member states to communicate SADC’s position and reaffirmed the non-alignment stance on conflicts outside the continent.