Gaborone – The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is readying a plan to rebuild member states whose socio-economic development has been retarded by conflict.
In a televised address from Gaborone this week, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi – the Chair of the bloc’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation – said first on the list was a master plan for a seamless transition and continuity of peace and security in the DRC when the United Nations troops withdraw from that country.
President Masisi noted that Botswana assumed Chairmanship of the Organ at the peak of negotiations between SADC and the world body regarding the configuration of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), the offensive arm of the UN Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
“One of SADC’s objectives is to ensure that there will not be security gap after the withdrawal of the UN troops from the DRC, which is expected in 2022,” said President Masisi.
He said also in line for rebuilding was Mozambique, which has been battling an insurgency linked to radical Islamist rebels.
“In this regard, the deployment of the SADC Standby Force is underway and will be conducted in accordance with international obligations and instruments,” said President Masisi.
SADC is also seized with economically assisting eSwatini, which has been wracked by sometimes violent protests by groups who want political reforms in Africa’s last absolute monarchy.
According to President Masisi, a second SADC Mission – comprising technocrats from Botswana South Africa and Zimbabwe as the members of the Organ – was scheduled to leave for Eswatini on July 14 to engage all stakeholders and report back to the Ministerial Committee of the Organ.
A ministerial level fact finding mission was dispatched to Eswatini on July 4 but failed to meet all stakeholders that time around.
Botswana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lemogang Kwape, who led the ministerial delegation, confirmed that SADC was not only looking at eSwatini’s political stability but its economic welfare as well.
“The Government of Eswatini also requested technical assistance from SADC in how to respond and plan for economic reconstruction following a period of political disturbances,” said Minister Kwape.