Terrorism, violent extremism threaten peace and security
Iam honoured to welcome you to this important Virtual Meeting of the Ministerial Committee of the Organ. I have really wished to be welcoming you in Gaborone, in a face- toface meeting. But as fate would have it, the COVID- 19 pandemic is still with us, and seemingly intensifying its grip on our lives.
I wish to start my remarks by conveying our deepest condolences and heartfelt sympathies to the Government and people of the Republic of Zambia, on the recent passing on of their Founding President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the last surviving founding father of our regional organisation. This is the man whose name became synonymous with the liberation of the Southern African region. Starting from the Mlungushi Club, to the Frontline States and the Southern African Development Coordinating Conference ( SADCC), Dr. Kaunda played a pivotal role in dismantling the white colonial rule and apartheid in the sub- region. It is on the legacy of this selfless liberation icon that today the region enjoys enduring peace and tranquillity.
We meet today to discuss and exchange views on the political and security situation in our region and elsewhere. You will agree with me, that in this era of globalisation, our region is not immune from events happening in some other places.
It is saddening that the world we live in continues to experience increasingly complex security challenges, such as terrorism; human trafficking; transnational organised crime; piracy; illegal trade in wildlife; natural disasters; poverty and unemployment; as well as political instability in some countries, just to mention a few. What this effectively means is that we, as human beings, continue to make our God- given planet a very unsafe place to live in. One really wonders what it will become in the future. This stunning reality, therefore, compels all nations, rich or poor, big or small, to put our heads and energies together and devise effective strategies, which will produce long- term solutions that could save our beloved world. Despite these uncertainties, it is encouraging to note that our region continues to make progress towards the consolidation of democratic ideals, including peace and stability. Many of our countries continue to hold peaceful and credible elections, in accordance with their respective Constitutional mandates, even during this difficult period of COVID- 19 pandemic. However, notwithstanding this commendable progress, there has been worrying security threats of terrorism and violent extremism in the Northern Province of Cabo Delgado, in the Republic of Mozambique, and the volatile security situation in the eastern provinces of North Kivu and Ituri in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as the attendant humanitarian crisis. The humanitarian and displacement crisis in the DRC has been further worsened by a devastating volcanic eruption, on 22 May 2021, from Mount Nyiragongo, located near Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, in the eastern DRC. The eruption left more than 20,000 people homeless and many others dead.
I wish to report that the Organ Troika has accorded serious attention to these challenges, which are a threat to peace and security in the region. We remain confident that through our continued collective efforts and meaningful dialogue, peace, unity and stability will ultimately prevail in these areas.
I am pleased to inform you that last month we launched the SADC Humanitarian and Operations Emergency Centre ( SHOC), in Mozambique. As you know, the Centre is a regional initiative aimed at assisting the SADC Member States affected by natural disasters and other emergencies. I therefore wish to, once again, express our sincere appreciation to the Government and people of the Republic of Mozambique, for their offer to host the Centre, and for the urgency with which they facilitated the speedy completion of the project.
As you are aware, the SADC Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, which was held in Mozambique, on 23 June 2021, has endorsed a decision to deploy a SADC Standby Force Mission to the Republic of Mozambique to support the country’s efforts in combating terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado. We remain hopeful that all the Member States will make their contributions towards the success of the Mission, as this is not just aimed at assisting Mozambique, but also the region as a whole, given the cancerous nature of terrorism.
With regard to DRC, I am happy to report that the Organ Troika, plus the Troop Contributing Countries have reached a common understanding with the Government of DRC and United Nations on the reconfiguration of the Force Intervention Brigade ( FIB),