SADC peace missions in the spotlight

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Come Saturday, the eyes and ears of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will be focussed on and tuned in to the Zambian capital, Lusaka, where a summit will put the regional bloc’s two continental peacekeeping operations under the microscope.

SAMIM, the SADC Mission in Mozambique, is due to conclude in July with initial deployment for SAMIDRC (SADC Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo) in December.

The SADC, a statement has it, “will hold an Extraordinary Summit of the Organ Troika, Plus SADC Troika, Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) to SAMIDRC, Personnel Contributing Countries to SAMIM” as well DR Congo and Mozambique on 23 March (Saturday).

On the agenda is the security situation in the 16 SADC member countries “with focus on the situation in the eastern part of DRC and Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique”. The summit is due to receive progress updates on both SAMIDRC and SAMIM deployed “to support the governments of the DRC and Mozambique to restore peace, security and stability to pave the way for sustainable development”.

Three SADC members – Malawi, South Africa and Tanzania – are SAMIDRC TCCs with the soon to be stood down SAMIM having personnel and equipment contributions from 10 SADC states. They are Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

SAMIDRC at present has a 12 month mandate which, according to the South African government, ends on 15 December.

Apart from confirmation of 2 900 South African military personnel, there is no information from SADC on Malawian and Tanzanian troop numbers. The South African deployment will cost “just over R2 billion” government said.

Zambia is currently SADC Organ chair with Tanzania the incoming and Namibia the outgoing. The SADC statement lists the Troika as Angola (chair), Zimbabwe (incoming) and DRC (outgoing).

A January SADC statement had it the presence of SAMIDRC demonstrated SADC commitment to supporting DRC efforts in achieving long term peace and stability.