By Khulile Thwala
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit taking place in Namibia is expected to focus on the region’s security challenges.
The South African Government has, through their social media pages, indicated that the Summit will consider the state of peace and security in the region with a particular focus on the political and security situations in the Kingdoms of Eswatini and Lesotho.
It will also attend to the developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Republic of Mozambique. It comes at a time when there is instability in the region with violence gripping Eswatini and Mozambique.
The Kingdom of Eswatini has experienced sporadic protests, arson attacks and the killing of citizens and members of the security forces. The attacks have been disguised as calls for democracy. The latest incident was the assassination of prominent Eswatini Human Rights lawyer Thulani Maseko on January 21.
The attacks in the country have also led to businesses being affected and, in the process, affecting the economy. In Mozambique, Insurgents have been wreaking havoc in the Cabo Delgado area since 2017. Since 2017, terrorist attacks have killed over 4,000 civilians and displaced tens of thousands.
The country has sought the assistance of Rwanda and trying to return peace to the land. AllAfrica.com reports that Rwanda first deployed 1,000 military and police officers to Cabo Delgado in July 2021, and within three weeks, they had cleared insurgents from key areas of Cabo Delgado and followed up with mop-up operations to fully secure most other areas under their control.
On top of fighting terrorists, Rwandan Security Forces are supporting the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and normalcy is returning in areas under their control.
Lesotho on the other hand is grappling with an out-of-control crime spree. Local media reports that crime has reached alarming levels with people killed every day.
The Times of Lesotho reports that hardly a week passes by without a report of a brutal killing somewhere in the country. Other cases happen far from the prying eyes of the media. So, they go unreported and unknown.
The publication ran a story on two sisters, Nthei (32) and ‘Maphoka Rasekoai (25), who appeared before the Maseru Magistrates Court to answer to charges of murdering their mother in July 2022. They are accused of fatally assaulting Martha Rasekoai on the head with a spade to cash in on her M1 million life cover.
“But this is but one case in which the perpetrators of murder are being tried. We remain worried that while cold-blooded indiscriminate killings have become the order of the day in Lesotho, most of these murders remain unresolved. Some serious soul-searching is now needed. There is a big problem at the heart of society. We need to ask as a nation what it is and what must be done to counter it,” the publication reported.
The Summit will be preceded by meetings of senior officials and the Ministerial Committee of the Organ Troika. Prime Minister Cleopas Dlamini as well as SA President Cyril Ramaphosa will be in attendance.
SADC is a Regional Economic Community of the following Member States: the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Botswana, the Union of Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Madagascar, the Republic of Malawi, Republic of Mauritius, Republic of Mozambique, Republic of Namibia, Seychelles, Republic of South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
South Africa is the outgoing Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation. The 42nd SADC Summit of the Heads of State and Government held in August 2022 mandated the Chairperson of the Organ Troika on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation, President Hage Geingob of Namibia, to convene the Summit to consider the peace and security situation in the SADC region.
On 31 January 2023, the SADC Heads of State will participate in a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit taking place in Windhoek, Namibia.
By Khulile Thwala