Windhoek — The 48th Plenary Assembly Session of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Parliamentary Forum (PF) has unanimously adopted a strongly-worded motion calling for urgent regional action to stop armed insurgents that are destabilising northern Mozambique.
BY MOSES MUGADZA
The plenary, which is the highest decision-making body of the Sadc PF which brings together 15 national Parliaments of the region, met virtually on Friday and Saturday.
Speaker of the Parliament of Zimbabwe, Jacob Mudenda moved the motion exhorting the plenary to condemn “the terrorist attacks in the Republic of Mozambique which are threatening the country’s security and sovereignty and undermining efforts to consolidate the rule of law and democracy”.
He noted that the armed attacks had claimed the lives of unarmed civilians, displaced others and damaged property and public infrastructure in recent years.
Mudenda added that the “barbaric attacks” had negatively impacted on the livelihoods of ordinary citizens, especially women, girls and children, many of whom were failing to access health and education services.
The Speaker argued that the Islamic State-linked insurgency constituted “a serious threat to regional peace and stability” as well as to international peace and security.
He called for immediate collective action by Sadc in line with the Sadc Mutual Defence Pact and by the African Union, to counter the terrorist attacks. Mudenda called on Sadc to help Mozambique to “stem the violent insurgency and bring relief to thousands of innocent civilians who are bearing the brunt of these barbaric attacks”.
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Angolan Member of Parliament Josefina Diakite, seconded the motion.
She noted that Mozambique was dealing with a humanitarian crisis due to the terrorist attacks and urgently needed Sadc regional solidarity.
“I underline the need for us to stand in solidarity and to fight what is happening against democracy in southern Africa and destabilising the peace in Mozambique,” she said.
Diakite said the region could not stand idly while people were being killed, displaced and rendered vulnerable to food and other insecurities.
The Angolan lawmaker noted that the increasing attacks on defenceless civilians were brutal, adding that scores of people had been gruesomely decapitated while scores of women and children had been abducted.
Noting that acts of terrorism were increasing all over the world, Diakite said Sadc MPs had a role to “safeguard peace and prevent these hideous crimes”.
Speaker of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Eswatini, Petrus Mavimbela said his country was gravely concerned over the “indiscriminate” terrorist attacks which also affected areas visited by foreigners and investors.
“Such acts are impacting on the economy, education, health, politics and social welfare of the Mozambique populace,” Mavimbela said.
Botswana MP Polson Majaga called for “swift” action to “dismantle’’ terrorist networks in the Sadc region.
“This thing will end up in all Sadc countries if we take our time or concentrate on COVID-19. It is time we talk to our Defence ministers for them to hold a meeting and (share) strategies to combat this terrorism,” Majaga said.
Speaker of the National Assembly of Namibia, Peter Katjavivi also supported the motion and pledged Namibia’s full support to Mozambique.
Zimbabwean lawmaker Goodluck Kwaramba said Islamic extremists had “declared an unjust war” on the people of Mozambique and should be stopped.
“They are killing women, girls and little children, thus turning Mozambique into a war zone. Mozambique is our neighbour. We can’t sit and watch terrorists attacking our neighbour. We should lend a hand as Sadc,” she said.
Mudenda said he had been “encouraged” by the “passion and enthusiasm” with which the motion had been responded to. He reiterated the need for “decisive” action.
“There is need to take proactive action against this terrorist scourge with the urgency it deserves. Terrorism in whatever stature and nature should be nipped in the bud. It is counterproductive, retards progress and hinders the citizenry from focusing on peaceful development,” he said.
He urged all the organs at Sadc summit level as well as the AU to put in place “concreate measures” to root out the terrorists.
The motion followed a plea in May this year by Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi for regional help in responding to the terrorist attacks.
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