MASERU – Prime Minister Ntsokoane Matekane will be part of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Troika meeting to be held in Namibia on January 31 – in which the security situation in the coastal state of Mozambique is likely to top the agenda.
This immediately after Prime Minister Matekane’s brief visit to the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) contingent at the country’s district of Nangade, Cabo Delgadol, on January 21 accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lejone Mpotjoane, LDF Commander, Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, and other senior government officials.
Mpotjoane, described the visit as impactful and a resounding success upon return from Mozambique; also indicating that the main purpose for the visit was for Matekane to find out for himself all challenges faced by the Lesotho troops deployed in the area and to motivate them to hold steadfastly in their peace-enforcement mandate in the country.
The SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) was deployed on July 15, 2021, as a regional response to support the Mozambique to combat terrorism and acts of violent extremism.
Since the deployment of the SAMIM, there has been tremendous improvement in the humanitarian and security situation, resulting in the return of Internally Displaced Persons to their areas of origin, according to Namibian President, Dr Hage G Geingob, who also heads the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation Troika.
In a press briefing by the LDF on Thursday in Maseru, Prime Minister Matekane is reported to have established some of the major challenges the contingent is grappling with in its assignment, and managed to offer solutions – however, most of these were not made public.
But it has been pointed out that financial challenges remain cardinal in several impediments to the smooth realisation of the troops’ mandate in Mozambique with some of the challenges failing to be addressed timeously.
There is equipment that is not easily accessible because it is expensive yet the army needs in order to make the soldiers’ lives easy.
On this visit, Prime Minister Matekane promised the deployed troops to immediately, together with his government, work on finding solutions to the problems they encounter to make their lives easier. He also wished them success and safety in their duty making sure that the Mozambicans are safe and maintain peace for the benefit of the entire Africa.
Matekane also had a meeting with the Mozambican government and the senior military officers responsible for the command of the forces, and was briefed on the importance of the other countries’ forces in Mozambique.
Explaining the contingent’s challenges, Lieutenant General Letsoela, said “the deployed troops have different challenges but the main ones are their geographical location in comparison to Lesotho, the only way to reach their locality is by flight. The poor road infrastructure has a very big impact on the type of cars we have because it is bad.”
General Letsoela also highlighted great achievements that they celebrate as the LDF, pointing out to the actual deployment itself as a great milestone.
Upon ascending to chair the SADC Troika last year, President Geingob, reiterated SADC’s commitment to peace and security in the region.
He pointed out that the SADC will continue to support the Mozambique, through the Cabo Delgado Province by neutralising the terrorist threat and restoring security in order to create a secure environment and pave the way for a sustainable development of Mozambique and the SADC region.