Namibia to send 250 soldiers to Lesotho

By Albertina Nakale

Windhoek – Cabinet has authorised the Ministry of Defence to avail 250 members of the Namibian Defence Force (NDF) to be deployed to support the SADC contingency force in the Kingdom of Lesotho.

This was revealed by Information and Communication Technology Minister Tjekero Tweya on Monday during a Cabinet briefing on the report of the SADC Double Troika summit on the security situation in Lesotho, held on September 15 in Pretoria, South Africa.

He said Cabinet approved as per SADC request the immediate appointment of an eminent person to represent Namibia to the oversight committee on Lesotho.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah explained that the request to send the soldiers came from SADC.

She said since the request came from SADC, they would take care of all the funding while member states would only provide the personnel required.

Cabinet also approved that Namibia considers pledging experts to the expanded oversight committee on Lesotho and personnel to the force.

“This extended oversight committee will be funded by SADC. They are gone because it was urgent to deal with the situation. As for the military contingent, proper preparation must be made. The oversight committee is on the ground and things are stabilizing. We are trying as a region to see if we can get a permanent solution to the issue of Lesotho that has been with us for a long time,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.

Tweya noted that Cabinet approved some officials to be availed to form part of the expanded oversight committee to the Kingdom of Lesotho.

These include the deputy director (regional organizations) in the international relations ministry Vasco Sampofu, Colonel Japhet Onemutshi Iiyambo from the defence ministry, Colonel Mathew Shipulwa also from defence, deputy commissioner Joseph Shikongo from the safety and security ministry and Esegiel Nguvauva, senior manager at the Namibia Central Intelligence Services.

He said Cabinet also deliberated on the report of the 37th SADC summit of heads of state and government, which took place from August 19-20 in Pretoria.

Cabinet directed the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development to continue engaging the SADC secretariat to determine the national indicative public coordination costs for a costed action plan for the SADC industrialisation strategy and roadmap.

Further, he added Cabinet directed the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation to consult with the governments of Angola and South Africa on the modalities and funding formula for hosting the SADC solidarity conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Equally, Cabinet directed the same ministry to continue to pay Namibia’s assessed contribution to the African Union (AU) on time and in full, without implementing the 0.2 percent import levy.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation was directed to participate in meetings to finalise the preparatory work to operationalize the SADC University of Transformation, and coordinate on a national level to ensure that Namibia’s input is provided in this process.

Cabinet also approved the Prevention and Combating of Torture Bill, 2017, and authorized the Minister of Justice to table the Bill in the National Assembly.

The Bill places an emphasis on the criminalisation of torture and on the important role the prosecution of perpetrators of torture plays in the prevention and prohibition of torture, including by extraterritorial jurisdiction as set out in Article 7.

The Bill’s provision on immunity in Article 4 is particularly noteworthy and underlines Namibia’s commitment to prosecute torture irrespective of the position of the perpetrator. – New Era.

October 2017
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