The decisions which the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) will make regarding attacks by violent Islamist extremists in Mozambique, will form the basis upon which Zimbabwe will intervene in the neighboring country, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo has said.
Minister Moyo also noted that the negative reflection of Zimbabwe on social media was internally generated and intended to reach foreign destinations and capitals, particularly ahead of international and regional summits.
He made the remarks while responding to questions from journalists during a post-Cabinet media briefing on Tuesday.
There have been disturbances in some parts of Mozambique, particularly in the Cabo Delgado province where several gruesome acts are being committed by the Islamist terrorists.
The conflict, which started as a religious sect, has since mutated into full-blown banditry with armed groups terrorizing and tormenting civilians.
The armed groups are said to have links with the Islamic State. The Mozambican Cabo Delgado insurgencies have so far claimed thousands of lives and left tens of thousands displaced with a potential of creating regional instability.
Minister Moyo said Zimbabwe’s military intervention hinged on Sadc collective decisions.
“About the situation and what role Zimbabwe is going play in Mozambique, this is going to be within the context of SADC. The decisions, which are going to be taken by Sadc organ will be the basis upon which Zimbabwe will get involved,” he said.
In May, President Mnangagwa, who was then the chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, visited Mozambique and met his Mozambican counterpart President Filipe Nyusi during which they discussed the security situation in Cabo Delgado and parts of Mozambique’s Manica and Sofala provinces.
The situation in Mozambique was also discussed by regional leaders during the just ended 40th Ordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government.
A communiqué released after the virtual summit, which was attended by 13 countries, expressed Sadc solidarity and commitment to supporting Mozambique in addressing the terrorism and violent attacks and condemned all acts of terrorism and armed attacks.
Turning to events in Zimbabwe, Minister Moyo said the political situation in the country had been stage-managed.
“The whole gamut of issues has been associated with activities that have been stage-managed to a point that they are seen as real. As Zimbabweans, we must be Zimbabweans first and that must be our priority. It is pointless to destroy your home as if you have a second country. If there are issues that are not better understood, there must be dialogue,” he said.
“Negativity, which has recently mushroomed against Zimbabwe, let us look at what is the source. The source is internal, generated locally by our own people for the purpose of social media consumption so that it can reach certain personalities, destinations and capitals, which should respond negatively to Zimbabwe. That is the scenario and the consumer is social media and mostly those people who are outside.”
Minister Moyo also briefed Cabinet on the 40th Ordinary Summit of Sadc Heads of State and Government, which was held under the theme: “40 Years Building Peace and Security, and Promoting Development and Resilience in the Face of Global Challenges.”
During the meeting, President Mnangagwa handed over the chairmanship of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation to his Botswana counterpart, President Mokgweetsi Masisi. The Sadc chairpersonship went to President Nyusi. A face-to-face Summit will be held in March 2021 in Maputo, Mozambique to consider the full Sadc agenda.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet noted with satisfaction that during President Mnangagwa’s tenure, Zimbabwe successfully brokered a common Sadc position on troop deployment to the troubled Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The country led a mission that amicably resolved the border dispute between neighbours Zambia and the DRC.
“Zimbabwe led four successful Sadc Election Observation Missions to elections in Mozambique, Botswana, Mauritius and Namibia. Through its Ambassador to Malawi, Zimbabwe also proffered advice that contributed to the successful re-run of the Presidential election in Malawi,” she said.
“Accordingly, Cabinet congratulated His Excellency the President, Cde ED Mnangagwa, the Government and the country for a successful chairmanship of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation for the period August 2019 to August 2020.”
Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said although Zimbabwe has relinquished the chair of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation, it remains in the Troika for another one year working together with Botswana, Zambia and South Africa.
“We have played a major role as chair of Troika and Botswana will count on us due to the fact that we steered the ship for the past 12 months. We will play an advisory role within Troika and they will obviously want to continue with the programmes that we started,” she said.
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri said President Mnangagwa will continue to interact with his counterparts in the region through sharing information and strategising on how best they can work closely with Mozambique in light of the Islamist insurgency.