Namibia yesterday accepted the position of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security after it emerged that the country might decline based on financial reasons.
Presidential spokesperson Alfredo Hengari said yesterday President Hage Geingob always promotes diplomacy and dialogue for peace as preconditions for national and regional development.
Geingob yesterday agreed to assume the SADC position following lengthy discussions at the regional block Organ Troika Summit, which came to an end in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) yesterday. Namibia first rejected the role, citing financial reasons and other obligations.
Hengari said this is a reflection of the confidence he enjoys as a statesman and it also reflects the respect and status Namibia has as a stable and peaceful democracy.
“The reasons why Namibia had initially declined, include the intensive travel and activity schedule of the chair of the organ and the fact that this would place pressure on the already tight fiscal position of the Namibian government,” Hengari said on the initial rejection.
He said member states in the Organ Troika requested Geingob to take on the position of chair, assuring Namibia that the country could count on their assistance in the execution of the demanding and complex duties of the chair.
In accepting the role, Hengari said Geingob thanked his fellow members of the troika for their support as Namibia undertakes to carry out the challenging task of the organ.
He said Geingob emphasised the fact that during the liberation struggle, small and big countries with limited resources supported Namibia during that difficult time.
“Inspired by a commitment to a peaceful, prosperous region and African continent, it is in that pan-Africanist vein of solidarity that Namibia accepted to lead the affairs of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security,” Hengari quoted Geingob as having said.
Hengari said the immediate agenda of Geingob would be the implementation of SADC decisions in the Kingdom of Lesotho, the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) and the work of the SADC Force Intervention Brigade in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including forthcoming elections in Angola and Lesotho.
The organ on politics, defence and security cooperation is established under Article 9 of the SADC Treaty.
The mandate of the chairperson of the SADC organ is outlined in Article 4 of the SADC Protocol on Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation, placing on the chairperson the responsibility for the overall policy direction and achievement of the objectives of the organ in promoting peace and security in the SADC region, in consultation with the SADC Troika.
In addition to accepting to chair the organ, Hengari said Geingob served as chairperson of SADC in 2018/2019, overseeing the affairs of the region as SADC navigated political transitions in Madagascar, the Union of Comoros and the 2018 elections in the DRC, leading to the first peaceful transition in the DRC since independence in 1960.
Geingob will chair the organ for a period of one year, commencing the role on 19 August 2022. The President takes over from South African president Cyril Ramaphosa.
He takes over the role while the region’s peace and security remains under threat. SADC and Rwandan forces have recently made gains in fighting in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province. The bloc sent troops in July 2021 to disperse Isis-affiliated insurgents.
The number of internally displaced persons has increased to 946 508 in February 2022, according to the UN.