SADC summit on Mozambique insurgency to be held this week


The first Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the year that was due to be held last week, with Mozambique’s insurgency its main focus, has been moved to Tuesday.

The summit, to review progress of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM), was due to be held virtually from 5 to 7 January, according to the SADC, but has been rescheduled. The meetings will now take place in Lilongwe, Malawi, from 11 to 12 January.

Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi, in his capacity as the Chairperson of SADC, will chair the Extraordinary Summit.

Prior to the Extraordinary Summit, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation will, on 11 January convene an Extraordinary SADC Organ Troika Summit, comprising Heads of State and Government from Organ Troika members (Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa).

In accordance with the SADC Treaty, the SADC Summit is responsible for the overall policy direction and control of functions of the community, ultimately making it the policy-making institution of SADC.

A key issue on the table is “support for effective operation of SAMIM objectives to bring peace and stability in Cabo Delgado”.

SAMIM was deployed to Mozambique mid-last year as the major component of a regional effort to dislodge Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah (ASWJ) insurgents, called “terrorists” in official SAMIM military communiques, from Cabo Delgado province.

South African International Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor last month told a media briefing SAMIM’s mandate to continue offensive operations against terrorists and violent extremists was extended without providing a timeline.

Eight SADC countries – Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia – currently have troops and other military personnel detached to the mission. While not part of SADC, Rwanda has a thousand troops assisting FADM (Forças Armadas de Defesa de Moçambique) in ongoing efforts to oust ASWJ from northern Mozambique.