Wed 01 February 2023:
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders have called on the Kingdom of Eswatini to urgently initiate a national dialogue as tensions continue to rise in that country.
This comes after the murder of a leading human rights lawyer and political activist in the Kingdom of Eswatini, Thulani Masek,o who was shot dead on 21 January 2023.
SADC leaders convened the Extra-Ordinary Organ Troika Summit of Heads of State and Government on Tuesday in Windhoek, Namibia.
The summit was officially opened and chaired by the Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation and President of the Republic of Namibia, Dr. Hage G. Geingob.
President Geingob urged all stakeholders in the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm and participate peacefully in a National Dialogue.
“The summit condemns all killings and damage to property in the Kingdom of Eswatini. The summit urges the government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to urgently initiate the process of the National Dialogue and urges all stakeholders in the Kingdom of Eswatini to remain calm and participate peacefully in the National Dialogue,” SADC Chair said.
He reiterated SADC’s condemnation of the killing of Maseko, who at the time of his death was Chairperson of the Multi-Stakeholder Forum.
SADC further urged the government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to conduct a “swift, transparent and comprehensive investigation into the killing of Maseko”.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the outgoing Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, is attending the summit accompanied by Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor; Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thandi Modise and Minister in the Presidency, Mondli Gungubele.
The summit reiterated the call for Member States to urgently respond to requests for critical capabilities to enhance the operational capability of the SADC Mission in Mozambique.
“The summit noted the ongoing investigations being undertaken by SAMIM leadership following a disturbing video clip circulating on social media depicting what appears to be SAMIM personnel burning deceased people and reiterated that the public will be informed once the investigations are completed, as communicated by the Chairperson of the Organ in his statement issued on 11 January 2023,” SADC said in a communique.
Kingdom of Lesotho
The summit also commended the government and the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho for conducting peaceful and successful elections, and congratulated the Revolutionary for Prosperity Party and the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane.
The summit further welcomed the commitment made by Prime Minister Matekane to prioritise the implementation and completion of the comprehensive national reforms process and approved the Action Plan for the Lesotho Reform Oversight Committee to monitor the finalisation of the reforms process in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The summit noted with deep concern the unstable security situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
SADC leaders strongly condemned the upsurge of conflicts and activities of armed groups, including M23 rebels and the support provided to the armed groups by foreign forces.
“The summit resolved to initiate dialogue amongst the Member States of different Regional Economic Communities (RECs) that have deployed forces in the DRC, with a view to establish and implement mechanisms for the effective coordination of their interventions in the DRC.”
The summit adopted the draft African Union Declaration on the USA proposed ‘Countering Malign Russian Activities in Africa Act’ and urged Member States to communicate SADC’s position, and reaffirmed the stance of non-alignment on conflicts outside the continent and the region at multilateral fora.
The summit commended President Geingob for his leadership to galvanise concerted efforts towards the attainment of lasting peace and stability in the region.
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