The Southern African Development Community, SADC, has moved its special summit on its Mozambique military intervention to January 11 after it learned that Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi tested positive for Covid-19.
President Maisi, the SADC's Chairperson for Politics, Defense and Security, was a key figure in last October's decision by the SADC to stay in Mozambique indefinitely.
Mozambican civic society groups say they are happy with SADC’s decision to stay, and to expand their presence in the Southern African nation, arguing that insurgents remain a threat.
“There is need, therefore, to expand the mandate of the mission to give a bit more stability, and the members should fund raise to make sure there is funding to sustain the mission in Mozambique, which in our view should not be a short but a mid-term deployment,” said Adriano Nuvunga, the Director of Center for Democracy and Development.
Nuvunga adds that while the SADC mission addresses insurgent threats, bringing peace to Mozambique will require resolving the underlying reasons for the violence.
“There is need to support dialogue in addressing issues that have to do with or speak to the root cause of the problem," Nuvunga said, adding "The root causes speak to governance failures, speak to elite centric activism which is not developmental and triggered right violations. These need to be addressed. The mission can be instrumental there in facilitating avenues for dialogue.”
An Eswatini pro-democracy group, the Swaziland Solidarity Network, acknowledges the work SADC is doing in addressing the challenges faced by Mozambicans. But group spokesperson Lucky Lukhele also expressed hope that the regional body will do the same in Eswatini, which recently has seen pro-democracy protests.
“We note that there seems to be one item on the agenda, the Mozambican question," Lukhele said. "We are still hopeful that SADC will approach this thing [the Eswatini protests] differently from the first time they did under the Botswana president,”