The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has a responsibility as a bloc to help a fellow Member State whose sovereignty and territorial integrity is under serious threat, the Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation of the Republic of Botswana and Chairperson of the Ministerial Committee of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Hon. Dr Lemogang Kwape, has said.
In his remarks at the opening of the Extraordinary Ministerial Meeting of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in Maputo, Republic of Mozambique, on 28th April 2021, Dr Kwape said SADC has a duty to protect innocent civilians, as well as to ensure regional peace and stability.
The Extraordinary Ministerial meeting of the SADC Organ Troika was convened to consider the report of the Technical Assessment Team that was deployed to Mozambique following a decision by the Extraordinary SADC Double Troika Summit in Maputo on 8 April 2021.
“As we deliberate on the Report and course of action, we should also take into consideration that our way forward, as the Region, should be guided by the SADC Mutual Defence Pact, which entered into force in August 2008. As we are aware, the Pact provides for collective self-defence and collective action. In particular, Article 6 of the Pact states that ‘an armed attack against a state party shall be considered a threat to regional peace and security and such an attack shall be met with immediate action’,” said Dr Kwape.
“It is in this regard that I wish to reaffirm SADC’s commitment to stand in solidarity with Mozambique.”
Dr Kwape said SADC cannot afford to have, under its watch, continued heinous atrocities which are characterised by horrific killing of innocent civilians, beheadings and maiming of women and children, including gender-based violence.
“The rise in these dreadful attacks raises concern that they are most likely to spread quickly to other provinces in Mozambique and to the entire Region. Therefore, the sooner we respond collectively, the less likely that these barbaric acts of terrorism will continue to destabilise our Region. We commend and recognise the important role played by our cooperating partners in assisting to find a long lasting solution to this problem,” he said.
Commander Fillipus Nghilondwa, who represented the SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, said the MCO meeting was a culmination of efforts to secure the Region by urgently addressing the security situation in Cabo Delgado Province.
He expressed gratitude to H.E. Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, President of the Republic of Botswana, for exemplary leadership in the initiative to bring peace to Cabo Delgado in his capacity as the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.
The SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation in short, the Organ, is a SADC institution whose overall objective is to promote peace and security in the region in line with Article 2 of the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.