Harare – SADC Heads of State and Government have endorsed implementation of the Action Plan for the Assessment of Security Threats in the region at their 41st Ordinary Session in Lilongwe, Malawi on August 17-18.
The region faces a growing terrorism threat, particularly in the DRC and Mozambique. The tentacles of the terrorists reach into Tanzania and threaten the entire region’s stability; as well as political instability in Lesotho.
The Action Plan was developed by the SADC Secretariat in consultation with member states to enable countries come up with holistic approaches to peace and security. Among other things, the plan includes operationalisation of the Regional Counter Terrorism Centre as part of the 2015 SADC Regional Counter Terrorism Strategy.
The Regional Counter Terrorism Centre will be in Tanzania.
At their Summit, regional leaders reviewed the situation in northern Mozambique which has been under attack from Islamist insurgents since 2017.
In July, SADC deployed its Standby Force to battle terrorists who have caused the deaths of more than 3,000 people and the displacement of at least 800,000 others.
“Summit received updates on the Security Situation in Cabo Delgado Province, in Northern part of the Republic of Mozambique, and commended SADC member states for pledging personnel and providing financial support towards the deployment of SADC Standby Force to Mozambique,” reads a communiqué issued by the region’s leaders after their Summit.
In the case of Lesotho, SADC Facilitator to the kingdom, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had his mandated to assist stakeholders in the country to achieve political stability extended for another year.
“Summit also urged the Kingdom of Lesotho to expedite completion of the ongoing reforms, and to continue with peace, transitional justice and reconciliation process to engender national unity, and bring about national healing and cohesion,” the Summit said.
A power struggle between Phakalitha Mosisili and Thomas Thabane, who repeatedly replaced each other as prime minister between 1998 and 2020, had destabilised the country.
Another key Summit outcome was the decision to transform the SADC Parliamentary Forum into a SADC Parliament, which will be a consultative and deliberative body rather than just an association of parliaments.
The SADC Parliament will give broader citizen participation in regional and facilitate more extensive debate on regional issues and implementation and domestication of protocols.
However, it will not initially have law-making or binding authority.
The regional parliament will liaise with other SADC institutions and structures such as the Council of Ministers, and recommendations will be channelled for consideration by Summit. It will also continue drafting and lobbying for domestication of model laws.
The Summit reiterated its call for the unconditional removal of Western economic sanctions Zimbabwe.