By Prosper Ndlovu
Rampant poaching and threats to political stability posed by the rebel Afonso Dhlakama-led Renamo in Mozambique are serious regional issues, which should be dealt with urgently, officials said yesterday.
Heads of delegates attending the ongoing 8th Session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security in Bulawayo called for a lasting solution to the Mozambican issue and a quick end to poaching activities. Dhlakama is hiding in the bush and has recently been engaged in sporadic attacks with the Mozambican military with some casualties reported.
“We commit ourselves to regional peace and stability but we remain concerned with developments in Mozambique and eastern DRC among others,” Defence Secretary Mr Martin Rushwaya said in his address.
He added: “It is our sincere hope that lasting solutions be found to bring the much needed stability to pave way for regional development and prosperity.”
South African Director-General and Secretary for Defence Dr Sam Makhulu Gulube said the recent election of Zimbabwe into the Sadc Troika was critical towards addressing emerging security challenges in the region.
He said: “There is no doubt in our minds that your leadership in the Troika will steer our organisation to overcome many of the emerging and evolving security challenges our region faces. In particular, the prevailing threat to security and stability posed by Renamo in our neighbouring country, Mozambique, is a regional concern.”
Dr Gulube said the region should consider setting up a standby army to respond to immediate crises and called for ways of exploring matters related to inter-operability of military and security equipment.