PRESIDENT Mnangagwa, who chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, yesterday led the regional bloc in coming up with a peace deal that is expected to bring stability to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The President chaired a virtual Troika Summit that included the Force Intervention Brigade Troops contributing countries (FIB-TCC) and the DRC. The meeting was attended by six SADC Heads of State and Government.
Those who attended the virtual meeting are President Mnangagwa, as the current chairperson, outgoing chairperson Zambian President Edgar Lungu and Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi as the incoming chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Tanzanian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Professor Palamagamba John Mwaluko Kabudi and Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera attended the meeting as the Force Intervention Brigade Troop contributing countries, while DRC President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi, attended as the leader of the affected country.
The virtual summit was also attended by SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax. The agenda of the meeting, which was whittled because of the Covid-19 pandemic that has brought a new normal by limiting movement, focused on joint efforts towards the stabilisation of the DRC.
Addressing SADC Troika member states, President Mnangagwa said the meeting was necessitated by the need for a continued pragmatic engagement with the UN on the reconfiguration of the Force Intervention Brigade. This is part of the regional bloc’s efforts, working with the United Nations (UN) to achieve lasting peace in the DRC.
“It is noteworthy that the situation in the DRC has been stable since the 2018 elections. I therefore exhort all stakeholders to forge ahead with the governance, security and socio-economic reforms required to sustain long-term stabilisation and sustainable development in the DRC,” said President Mnangagwa.
However, President Mnangagwa said SADC remains deeply concerned with the continuing violence in parts of the DRC such as North and South Kivu and the eastern parts.
“The elimination of the threat posed by armed groups will require a comprehensive approach at the national and regional levels. As such, regional co-operation remains critical, not only to the long-term stabilisation of the DRC,
but to peace, security and development in the entire region.
“It is my firm belief that our engagement today will allow us to agree on a common position that seeks to strengthen the operational effectiveness and unity of command and control of the Force Intervention Brigade,’’ he said.
He commended the Force Intervention Brigade Troop contributing countries namely Tanzania, South Africa and Malawi for their continued resolve to keep troops on the ground in the fight for peace in the DRC, working in close collaboration with United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO).
“In spite of the often challenging operational environment, you have all remained steadfast. The SADC and indeed the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is grateful to the three countries for their commitment, in this regard.
“I wish to reaffirm SADC’s willingness to work closely with the United Nations in order to strengthen the FIB’s capacity as a dependable offensive capability of MONUSCO”.
The SADC region, President Mnangagwa said, stands ready to continue engaging the UN under the framework of the UN-SADC Joint TASK Force Team towards mutually agreed strategy for strengthening the FIB-MONUSCO efforts in DRC.
He called for the expediting of the implementation of all the pending recommendations of the United Nations-SADC Joint Task team.
“Of significance is the deployment of the intelligent capabilities such as the Geo-Location and the establishment of the Threat Analysis Unit and the Tactical Intelligent Unit to enhance the capabilities of the FIB battalions. This will go a long way towards enhancing crisis prevention and promoting regional stability as well as sustainable regional economic growth,” said President Mnangagwa.
The members who attended the meeting paid tribute to the late former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa who was buried last week.
A minute of silence was observed in honour of the pan-Africanist who sacrificed his life towards the development of Tanzania, SADC and Africa.
President Mnangagwa congratulated his Malawian counterpart President Chakwera for winning the Presidential elections.
Meanwhile, the communiqué of the virtual meeting was adopted and the members commended the FIB-TCCs for their tremendous commitment, and continued deployment of their troops in fighting the negative forces in DRC.
The organ expressed their gratitude to the UN for the continued support to the SADC region and the DRC while also noting with concern the unilateral decision by the UN to reconfigure the FIB contrary to SADC position.
The meeting resolved that the FIB should not be tampered with, since the UN was proposing for additional troops outside the SADC region.
According to the communiqué, members called upon the UN Secretary General to convene a consultative meeting with SADC to engage on the region’s position on the reconfiguration of the FIB.