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Editorial Comment: African solutions for African problems

President Mnangagwa

ON Monday, President Mnangagwa and other Heads of State and Government in the Sadc region met in Mozambique to discuss among other things the security situation in that country which in recent years has been affected by Islamic terrorists.

The leaders comprising of President Mnangagwa, Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, Mokgweetsi Masisi from Botswana, Vice President Samia Suluhu of Tanzania and host President Filipe Nyusi reaffirmed African solidarity and emphasised the need for local intervention.

For centuries, Africa has been undermined by one form of subjugation or another wrought by Western powers ranging from slavery to colonialism, exploitation and attendant underdevelopment.

Presently, African states have to grapple with neo-colonialism, neo-imperialism and neo-liberalism, all ideological fronts whose main purpose is to control developing nations.

Taking advantage of the wave of terrorism in the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, some Western powers had sought to intervene.

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Conscious of history and the parochial interests of the West, African leaders are aware of the delicate nature of the disturbances if outsiders establish a foothold.

The leaders are also aware that Western countries’ interests are clearly centred on oil and gas riches recently discovered in the province and are less concerned about the humanitarian situation needing urgent address.

Western states had sought to convince Mozambique to allow their troops to intervene in the country’s northern region, but reports suggest that the SADC regional bloc is urging their counterpart to be circumspect.

Hopefully, the government of Mozambique will not swallow the bait and turn to former colonisers for assistance when the regional leaders have expressed willingness to collectively deal with the matter.

President Mnangagwa, who along with other Heads of State and Government made it clear that SADC was seized with the security situation in the country and foreign nations could only provide humanitarian assistance.

This was a consensual position that was adopted by all countries present, namely Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania and the host Mozambique.

The meeting comprised of Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe as members of the SADC Organ of Peace Politics and Defence (Troika) Tanzania as the first country, other than the host, to be affected by the Islamic terrorists who operate from the Cabo Delgado.

Unlike in the past where Western nations would troop to Africa, such as the United States (US) military intervention in Somalia and leave the affected in a huff worse off than they were before, the SADC leaders want a lasting solution which will ensure enduring peace in the region.

Gone are the days when the Western world would parachute ideas on the continent.

Recently, Zimbabwe along with other SADC member states, launched the Interpol Regional Counter-Terrorism Node (RCTN) for Eastern and Southern Africa tailored to combat terrorism whose main thrust is to enhance coordination and cooperation of counter-terrorism efforts within the region.

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Such a body has a role to ensure that threats of terrorism do not spread to other parts of the region.

This is a key in example of Africa coming up with solutions to problems affecting the region.

It is indeed heartening to note that Africa is now finding its voice through leaders such as President Mnangagwa and his counterparts in the SADC region who on Monday shut the door on Western countries led by the US, Portugal and France that wanted to take advantage of the insurgency crisis in Mozambique and worm their way back into the region and perpetuate the subjugation of Africa in one form or another.

Instead of trying to impose views and ideas on Africa, the Western world should take into account that regional blocs such as SADC have a Standby Force which has thus far acquitted itself well in the maintenance and sustenance of peace in the region.

The continent does not need handouts or prescriptive diplomacy from Western nations, but rather what Africa desires and deserves is respect from the erstwhile plunderers who apparently still dream of returning to the continent to loot and pillage as is their wont.

One cannot argue that the continent does not have the capacity to mobilise resources for forces to intervene in Mozambique because Zimbabwe on its own intervened in Mozambique at the time of the South African apartheid-sponsored Renamo insurgency and triumphed.

Apart from SADC which can deploy a force in the region, the continent has the African Standby Force that can also be deployed.

Instead of unilateralism that Western nations blindly pursue as they seek dominance and control of resources, the United Nations can work with regional bodies to find solutions to problems affecting AU member  states.

What is clear is that the people in the affected region of Mozambique need food relief and in that regard everyone has a role to play, but not where it concerns peace and security matters because the continent has learnt lessons from the war in Somalia where up to this day peace remains elusive.

HERALD

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