Pemba peacebuilding meeting hears confidence and trust essential in Cabo Delgado


SAMIM (SADC Mission in Mozambique) peacebuilding efforts in conflict ravaged Cabo Delgado has to see confidence in and trust returned between communities and officialdom, specifically those tasked with fighting crime and ensuring prisoners remain incarcerated.

This was part of a wide-ranging appeal made by Bishop Dinis Matsolo, a leading cleric who is also a respected voice in civil society, when addressing a meeting of community leaders, police and correctional service officers in the port city Pemba.

According to a SADC communique, Matsolo maintains peace will only return to the northern Mozambican province when its residents trust uniformed government officials.

To build peace, police and communities must engage each other and speak truthfully, demonstrating respect, creating transparency and correcting mistakes made in the past. Police and communities must demonstrate loyalty to their country and provide results. Communities and police need to face the realities of the situation in the region. They must practice responsibility, listen to each other, and fulfil promises. Both sides have to do this for a solid relationship, which will result in lasting peace, the communique has Matsolo saying.

The lack of trust in government institutions and those who staff them, along with poverty and poor infrastructure, with hospitals and schools specifically named, are seen as “major issues” in the ongoing conflict led by Islamic insurgents. Inequality and a lack of opportunities, the province’s assets notwithstanding, were also cited as blocking the way for peace.

The SADC peacebuilding initiative seeks to enhance the capacity of Mozambique police and correctional services, social protection mechanisms, law and order and humanitarian assistance in Cabo Delgado under attack from terrorists and violent extremists, the communique has it.

The initiative comes a year after the regional bloc approved deployment of a multi-national task force to take on and subdue ASWJ (Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah) “terrorists”, as they are referred to in SADC communiques.