WINDHOEK, 12 AUG – Peace and security in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is stable, notwithstanding the political instability challenges faced by some member states.
SADC’s Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Jorge Cardoso said at a media engagement by the SADC Secretariat here on Sunday, the challenges particularly facing the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Lesotho were accorded significant attention by the region’s structures.
He said that the SADC institution was not established to replace institutions within the member states but to work with them.
Looking at the political instability in the DRC, Cardoso said SADC engaged the system in that country to go through a political process by assisting the country to implement the signed political agreement of 2016 while it is preparing for elections later this year.
The agreement signed by DRC’s ruling and opposition parties would deliver the country’s first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960.
“SADC is also making great effort in making sure that the bilateral processes are prepared in a conducive and peaceful manner,” Cardoso said.
SADC thus deployed the United Nations Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Monusco) mandate and United Nations Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) to intervene in eastern DRC and engage the negative forces there.
The two military forces would also ensure that as the country prepares for its general elections, it is free from conflict.
SADC also deployed a representative mission to Lesotho following instability in the country, which started in 2014, to facilitate the political process to the implementation of constitutional and public sector and security reforms.
Further echoing the region’s stability, he said it had also taken gradual and progressive steps towards exempting its citizens from the requirements of visas for them to move from one country to another.
“As we create the necessary conditions for the full facilitation of circulation of citizens, this internal mechanism, which is the exempting of visas, is taking form,” Cardoso said.
He said desired outcomes are not often immediately seen when measures are put in place to address situations in the region, however, it would continue to assist member states in whatever assistance was needed to ensure that the region remains peaceful and politically stable. – NAMPA