Ten of 16 Southern African Development Community (SADC) member countries are presently part of a “communication exercise” – COMMEX – to boost the building of an effective and professional regional standby force.
The exercise, codenamed Dipuisano (which translates as “disclosure”), runs from 24 July to 5 August and, a statement from the regional bloc has it in part, “peace and security remain indispensable for sustainable socio-economic development of the region. In this regard, a credible conflict resolution mechanism in the form of an effective and professional SADC Standby Force is a ‘quid pro quo’ for SADC prosperity”. It was quoting Professor Kula Ishmael Theletsane, Director, Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs at SADC Secretariat.
He further emphasised a successful exercise will heighten conflict resolution capability for the SADC region and the African continent. “This speaks to partial fulfilment of Aspiration Four of the African Union Agenda 2063 –that aspires for a peaceful and secure Africa,” he said.
Exercise Director, Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Brigadier Joseph Mathambo saw the exercise presenting an opportunity for military personnel, police, correctional services and the civilian component to engage in the planning process, expanding their knowledge through skills transfer as well as exercising different experiences to collectively achieve objectives.
Brigadier Oreeditse Tsamaase, Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Acting Director Financial Resources Management, in his welcome remarks on behalf of the BDF Commander, noted the rationale for planning and executing military exercises is to prepare commands and forces for operations in peace, crises and conflicts. “Exercises such as COMMEX ensure forces across the Alliance [presumably the SADC bloc] can work together effectively when needed”.