We are all in this, Chakwera declares amidst Mozambican conflict as he opens SADC extra ordinary Summit

By Chikumbutso Mtumodzi

Malawi’s President and Chairperson of the Southern Africa Development Community or SADC, President Dr Lazarus Chakwera, has declared that so long as brothers and sisters in Northern Mozambique are fleeing their homes to escape the armed threats to their lives, none of member nations in SADC can be at peace.

“So long as our Mozambican brothers and sister are being forced to abandon the fields they had hoped to be cultivating at this time, none of us here can be at peace.

“So long as they are being forced to choose between leaving food and clothing behind in Cabo Delgado to face the prospect of starvation and humiliation and staying there to face the cruelty and violence of the terrorists, none of us here can be at peace,” said President Chakwera on Wednesday, 12 January, 2022 when he officially opened the Extraordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government in the capital, Lilongwe.


Almost 1 million people have been displaced by the ongoing insurgency in the northern Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado. Clashes there are between Islamic-linked militants, government troops and mercenaries. Cabo Delgado is a province rich in minerals, especially gemstones.


When he officially opened the extraordinary meeting, President Chakwera recalled that the Extraordinary SADC Summit held in Maputo, Mozambique, on 23 June, 2021, approved the deployment of support and the mandate of the SADC Standby Force Mission to the Republic of Mozambique (SAMIM).

Following that approval, the Mission, consisting of the SADC Standby Force Rapid Deployment Capability, was deployed the following month, he said.


According to the SADC Chair, the mandate of SAMIM is supporting Mozambique in combating terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado until the terrorist threat is neutralized, security is restored, and the environment is secure.

Secondly, SAMIM aims to strengthen and maintain peace and security through the restoration of law and order in affected areas of Cabo Delgado Province, and lastly, supporting the Republic of Mozambique, in collaboration with humanitarian agencies in providing humanitarian relief to the population affected by terrorist activities, including internally displaced persons.

President Chakwera has said since the conflict in Mozambique affects all SADC member states, the mission in Mozambique is a mission that cannot and must not fail.


The SADC Chair then told the meeting that SADC’s collective mission in Mozambique is paramount and ongoing, and the stakes for all member states are high.

“What we are fighting for is the very stability of our region. What we are fighting for is our region’s peace and security. What we are fighting for is the sustainability of our quest for our region’s integration and socio-economic development. What we are fighting for is our own peace of mind, which is inextricably linked to the peace of mind of our brothers and sisters in Mozambique,” said President Chakwera.


In his speech, the SADC Chair reported that SAMIM is making remarkable progress and that credit goes to the resilience of SADC troops, but also to the leadership of the Mission.

“The success they have registered by standing shoulder to shoulder with the Defence Forces of the Republic of Mozambique has brought renewed hope to the affected population, particularly internally displaced persons, including women and children, as they look forward to a better tomorrow in which they can return to their homes.

“Let me also take this opportunity to commend and applaud SADC Member States who have contributed personnel, equipment and financial resources towards the deployment and success of the Mission. Considering the economic challenges that Member States continue to face as a result of the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on our economies, your support to the Mission not only demonstrates the highest level of commitment to SADC’s peace and security, but also your humanity and solidarity with the far worse plight of those in Mozambique on the receiving end of this violence.

“What remains now is for us to stay the course and stick together. We cannot relent. We cannot regress. We cannot retreat. Our approach to this mission must continue to be multidimensional and comprehensive. It must not only focus on neutralizing the threat, but also have a post-conflict plan to rebuild,” said President Chakwera.


The Malawi leader then conveyed a word of gratitude to President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and the Government of Mozambique for launching a comprehensive Cabo Delgado Reconstruction Plan.

“This plan, among other things, seeks to provide humanitarian support to the affected population, including internally displaced persons, and uplift their living standards. This plan seeks to empower the people economically as a preventive measure against radicalization, especially among the youth.

“This plan seeks to reconstruct infrastructure, including schools, houses, hospitals and water facilities that have been destroyed by terrorist. I therefore call on Member States and international cooperating partners to not only support the SADC Mission, but also support this comprehensive Cabo Delgado Reconstruction Plan,” said President Chakwera.


President Chakwera noted that SADC has been in existence for over 40 years now, and that this is not the first time in SADC’s history member states have stood together to face off an existential threat. He said member states stood together during the liberation struggle against formidable colonial powers, and prevailed.

“We stood together whenever any part of our Region was ravaged by natural disasters, and we prevailed. We have stood together to defend our region against COVID-19 pandemic despite our limited resources and the continued discrimination of other regions against ours, and we will prevail.

“We have stood together in our collective call for the lifting of sanctions imposed on our sister Member State, the Republic of Zimbabwe, which also have a knock-on effect on the economy of the entire region, and we will prevail.

“And so we stand together NOW to face down this threat of terrorism and violent extremism in our midst, and we will prevail,” the President declared.


During his opening address, the SADC Chair reported the since the SAMIM was deployed, a number of troops have been killed in the line of duty.

“It is only right, therefore, for us to honour the memory of these fallen heroes, for in the face of danger, they faced and fought the terrorists with great courage in pursuit of the cause of our peace and the security of our region,” he said.


On Tuesday, 11 January 2022 President Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa and Chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence, and Security convened an Extraordinary Summit of the Organ Troika, plus Personnel Contributing Countries and the Republic of Mozambique. The Summit reviewed and considered the progress of the SADC Mission in Mozambique and the Framework for Support to the Republic of Mozambique to Combat Terrorism, according to President Chakwera.

“I can report that President Ramaphosa continues to provide sterling leadership on matters of peace and security to ensure that our region remains stable and on mission. I can also report that under his leadership, the Organ Troika came up with a number of recommendations in support of our collective mission in Mozambique, which Your Excellencies must now consider and give direction on during today’s summit.

“In this regard, I want to recognize the important role played by our Council of Ministers, Ministerial Committee of the Organ, our Senior Officials and all our defence and security experts for comprehensively deliberating on the issues that will be considered at this Summit today,” said the SADC Chair, further expressing gratitude to the Executive Secretary and his team for the work done in preparing for the extraordinary meeting.


During his speech at the SADC Extraordinary Organ Troika Summit held in Lilongwe together with personnel contributing countries and Mozambique, President Ramaphosa said SADC that acts of terrorism and violent extremism, that have led to loss of lives, property and displacement of people, especially women and children in Cabo Delgado, cannot be allowed to continue without a proportionate response.

President Ramaphosa reported that since the deployment of SAMIM in Mozambique, significant progress has been made and that the security situation in Cabo Delgado is improving, which has allowed for some internally displaced persons to return to their homes and resume their normal lives.

“The efforts of our Mission, working in collaboration with the Mozambican Defence Force, has created safe passage to facilitate the provision of humanitarian assistance to the population affected by terrorist activities.

“I wish to express appreciation and commend the work of SAMIM on the ground. I equally appreciate and commend member states who have supported this work financially and through the deployment of personnel and equipment,” said President Ramaphosa.


The Lilongwe SADC Extraordinary Heads of State and Government Summit was attended by the following Heads of State and Government and/or their representatives:

•Democratic Republic of Congo: His Excellency President Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo
• Malawi: His Excellency President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera
• Mozambique: His Excellency President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi
• South Africa: His Excellency President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa,
• Zambia: His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema
• Botswana: His Honourable Mr. Slumber Tsogwane the Vice President of the Republic of Botswana
• Namibia: His Excellency Dr. Nangolo Mbumba, the Vice President of the Republic of Namibia,
• United Republic of Tanzania: His Excellency Dr Philip Isdor Mpango, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania
• Zimbabwe: Hon. General (Rtd.) Dr. Constantino G.D.N Chiwenga, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care of the Republic of Zimbabwe
• Eswatini: Right Hon. Cleopas Sipho Dlamini, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Eswatini
• Lesotho: Hon. Thabo Sophonea, Minister of Finance of the Kingdom of Lesotho
• Angola: His Excellency Jose Maria De Lima, Secretary of State for Ministry of Defence and War Veterans,
• Mauritius: His Excellency Dr. Prakarmajith Vijaye Lutchmun, High Commissioner of the Republic of Mauritius to South Africa and SADC
• Seychelles: His Excellency Ambassador Claude Morel, High Commissioner of the Republic of Seychelles to South Africa and SADC.