More than 600 people from 12 Southern African Development Community (SADC) states took part in the just completed Exercise Umodzi in Malawi.
The command post exercise (CPX) is a precursor to the Southern African regional bloc taking command of the African Standby Force (ASF) next year as a SADC member.
Speaking at the CPX venue, Malawi’s Armed Forces College at Salima, SADC executive secretary Stergomena Tax said the SADC standby force attained full operational capability (FOC) following the Amani Africa 11 exercise at South Africa’s Combat Training Centre (CTC) in Lohathla in November two years ago. The SADC standby force is part of the AU African Standby Force (ASF), an integral component of the continental body’s African Peace and Security Architecture.
She went on to say Exercise Umodzi further enhanced the operational capability of the SADC Standby Force and helped assess the state of operational readiness. This assisted in adequately preparing the SADC Standby Force to fulfil its obligations under the ASF roster duties.
“SADC, like other Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms, takes its commitment to ‘Silence the guns in Africa by 2020′ seriously. I call on SADC member states to maintain a high level of readiness of the contingents during the period of the African Standby Force roster,” Tax said.
Performing the official closure of the exercise, Dr Emmanuel Fabiano, Malawi Minister of Foreign Affairs and international Co-operation, urged all participants to use the knowledge and experience gained to make Africa a better and more secure place.
“Peace and security are the bedrock of development and as such there is a need to secure and promote peace at all times”.
SADC member states taking part in Umodzi were Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.