By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – Namibia and Zambia continue to promote and strengthen defence and security relations.
Defence and security representatives from the two southern African neighbours recently met in Swakopmund for the 19th Session of the Namibia/Zambia Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security.
During the meeting, that was held from September 7-11, the two countries noted with satisfaction the continued co-operation among their Defence and Security agencies and agreed to further strengthen such co-operation in order to improve safe and efficient movement of nationals of both countries across the common border.
In a joint communiqué issued after the meeting, the commission however noted with concern the increase in incidences of cross-border and trans-national crimes including stock theft, illegal migration, poaching, human and drug trafficking had continued to undermine efforts to maintain peace and stability by the Defence and Security
institutions not only in the two countries, but the region as a whole.
In this regard, “the commission re-affirmed its commitment to curb these and other vices. The commission also called on Defence and Security institutions of the two countries to remain vigilant and intensify joint operations and the exchange of intelligence on criminal syndicates whose activities could undermine peace and security,” read the statement issued by Namibia Defence Ministry.
In his crossing remarks, Namibian Minister of Defence Penda ya Ndakolo emphasized the importance of continued cooperation between the security institutions of the two countries and the SADC region in general.
“We need to keep in mind that our defence and security institutions will only remain stronger if we continue to work together and use the resources at our disposal to achieve our common goals and to the maximum advantage of our two countries. In doing so, we cannot disregard our defence and security responsibilities towards the region and the international community,” said the minister.
“We need to remind ourselves that the defence and security systems of our two sister countries are interdependent and require us to always explore the best possibilities to join forces and collectively face the common challenges to our security and safety as nations.”
Zambia’s Defence Minister Richwell Siamunene said the joint session was in recognition of the fact that security is vital to all nations’ economic and social growth.
“Therefore, the regular holding of these meetings underscores the importance that the two governments attach to the wellbeing of our people. In addition, the interaction of the heads of defence and security institutions is testimony that we all recognize the need to ensure that our people are safe and the countries are stable,” Siamunene said .
With regard to the improved political situation in the SADC region, the commission congratulated Botswana, the Kingdom of Lesotho and Mozambique for holding peaceful Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
However, it condemned the assassination of Maaparankoe Mahao, the former Army Commander of Lesotho, while applauding the re-assignment of Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s Deputy President as a mediator in an effort to restore peace and stability in that country.
Similarly, the commission noted with satisfaction the efforts by SADC in the peaceful resolution of the political crises in Madagascar and Lesotho.
It further noted with satisfaction the ongoing dialogue related to governance issues between the ruling Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) and the Mozambique Resistance Movement (RENAMO) as well as the improvement of the security situation in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). To this effect, it commended SADC, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the African Union and the United Nations for their efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the conflict in the DRC.
The 18th Session of the Zambia/Namibia Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security was held in Livingstone, Zambia in August 2014.
Zambia will be hosting the next annual gathering- the 20th session of the commission next year.
Featured Image:Zambia’s Defence Minister Richwell Siamunene