SADC concerned about the security situation in the region

Niël Terblanché

Namibia participated in the Extraordinary Southern African Development Community Summit that considered the security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Vice-President of the Republic of Namibia, Dr Nangolo Mbumba, led the Namibian Delegation to the Summit. He was accompanied by Frans Kapofi, the Minister of Defence and Veterans Affairs, Patrick Nandago, Ambassador of Namibia to Angola, and other senior government officials.

At the conclusion of the summit, the Heads of State issued a joint communique in which they stated that they are concerned about the deterioration of the security and humanitarian situation in the Eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the reported resumption of attacks and occupation of territory by the M23 rebels. The resurgence of violence is according to the leadership, in clear violation of the cease-fire agreement.

The summit provided strategic guidance on the deployment of the SADC Mission in the DRC (SAMIDRC) to restore peace and security in the country.

Participants commended Member States that have committed additional pledges towards deploying the SADC Mission in the DRC (SAMIDRC).

Leaders of the various member states reiterated the need for the SADC to spearhead efforts towards the mobilisation of resources for facilitating peace and security in the SADC Region.

These efforts include reviving discussions to establish and operationalise the SADC Peace Fund and engaging International Cooperating Partners.

The leadership also received an update on the elections in the SADC Member States and noted the report of the SADC Election Observation Mission to the Harmonised Elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe held in August 2023 and the General Elections in the Kingdom of Eswatini in September 2023.

The Heads of State wished the Republic of Madagascar and the Democratic Republic of Congo peaceful and successful elections as the two SADC Member States hold their elections in November and December 2023, respectively, and reiterated SADC’s support through the deployment of the SADC Election Observation Mission.

All participants reiterated the urgent need for all stakeholders, in particular, political parties in the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Lesotho, to ensure that the reform process is brought to finality in the interest of national political, economic and security stability.

The summit commended the efforts by Mr. João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço as the designated facilitator by the African Union (AU) in bringing peace in the Eastern DRC.

Participants mandated the Chairperson of SADC, supported by the Organ Troika to intensify the diplomatic efforts between the DRC and Rwanda to bring lasting peace in the DRC.

The President of the Republic of Zambia and the Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Hakainde Hichilema was commended for his leadership in sustaining peace and security in the Region.

The Chairperson of SADC expressed gratitude to all Heads of State and Government for attending the Extraordinary Summit and for their unwavering commitment to peace, security, and development of the SADC region.

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