Lungu’s work as SADC organ chair cut out

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Ranga Mataire

 

NEWLY appointed SADC chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s work is already cut out as his focus, just like his predecessor, will be on establishing peace and stability in Lesotho, Madagascar and the DRC.

 In a recent address to the 38 Heads of State and Government in Windhoek, Namibia, President Lungu said his chairmanship will ensure that the region comes together as a united entity that enjoys peace and stability.

 “Indeed, it is this spirit which, even today, spurs our regional body to seek common solutions to the various problems that, from time to time, affect our livelihood as a SADC family. I am delighted to note that our region has remained relatively stable and peaceful while promoting the shared values of peace, security, democracy and good governance among all member states,” President Lungu said.

 Lesotho, the DRC and Madagascar are likely to be President Lungu’s priority countries in need of peace and stability.

 He said he was ready to bring SADC together to support the DRC in holding peaceful and successful elections.

 “I wish to commend my dear brother, His Excellency President Joseph Kabila Kabange and his government for remaining committed to ensuring that peaceful and credible elections are held on the 23rd of December 2018.

“It is indeed commendable to see the electoral process is underway with the publishing of the voters roll and the successful undertaking of voter registration across the length and breadth of the country,” said President Lungu.

 Lungu said there was need for Lesotho to implement various reforms recommended by SADC. He said he will work closely with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as the regional facilitator to Lesotho in ensuring political stability in the country.

 “It is worth noting that the mandate of the SADC preventive mission in Lesotho was extended for six months at a significant cost to member states. The onus, therefore, lies on the government and the main political players to advance the reform process in the remaining period to ensure that the dividends of the mission are achieved to the benefit of the Basotho,” he said.

 In Madagascar, Lungu commended the government there and all other stakeholders for maintaining stability as the country readies to go to the polls later this year.

 “We believe that the Republic of Madagascar is on the right track to restoring constitutional normalcy which would enable the Malagasy people to enjoy well deserved peace, stability and development,” he said.

President Lungu said the other priority issue was to operationalise the Regional Logistics Depot (RLD) in Botswana. He said he will hold discussions with President Xi Jinping of China who pledged financial support for the construction of the depot.

 Once completed, the RLD is designed to hold general purpose equipment for the police, military and civilian components of the SADC Standby Force.

 Lungu said he was committed to regional peace and will consult his predecessor, Angolan President Joao Lourenco, and tap into his experience and knowledge.

 Other initiatives that will be superintended by Lungu include the SADC Liaison Office in Kinshasa and the Preventive Mission in Lesotho.

 The organ is also expected to oversee and support the preparation and holding of elections in Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Kingdom of Eswatini, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa guided by the revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections of 2015.

 The Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation is established under the SADC Treaty. The troika is comprised of the current chairperson, outgoing and incoming chairpersons and is responsible for the overall policy direction and achievement of the objectives of the organ of promoting peace and security in the SADC region.

 

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