Rakgomo on Masisi’s role as OPDS chair

Solly Rakgomo
Solly Rakgomo

FRANCISTOWN: Local international relations expert Solly Rakgomo has hailed efforts by President Mokgweetsi Masisi as the outgoing chairperson on SADC’s Organ on Politics, Defence and Security (OPDS).

Rankgomo also has vast interest in defence and security matters. He believes that President Masisi did well in relation to spearheading efforts meant to counter the insurgence in Mozambique. Masisi's term as OPDS chairperson coincided with the insurgency in Mozambique and anti- Monarcy protests in Eswatini. Masisi’s role as the OPDS chair ended this week.

“He can count as one of his successes SADC's deployment of troops in Mozambique to fight the insurgents,” Rakgomo said Rankgomo.

The deployment of SADC troops in Mozambique where Botswana has sent nearly over 300 soldiers came after intense engagement among SADC countries. There were reports that Mozambican president Fillipe Nyusi was not keen to allow the regional troops to be deployed in his country.

“Even though some critics argue that the deployment of the SADC troops came very late, but the act of deployment was a success as the security challenge in Mozambique is also a regional one that requires collective defence from a regional body such as SADC. This is because the threat has a potential to destabilize the whole SADC region,” he said.

Rakgomo also said the onus now lies on South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa, who took over from Masisi as OPDS chair, to ensure that the peace keeping mission becomes a success.

He emphasised that it is important for the government of Mozambique to create economic opportunities for the people of the besieged region which is rich in natural resources as a way of countering the insurgence.

“Security should not only be based on military solutions alone but should be balanced with provision of public goods such as education, health, housing and most importantly opportunities for the local populations especially the youth to engage in meaningful ways of living. Failure to balance the two can not bear any meaningful long term peace and stability inside Mozambique,” he said.

The international relations analyst further posits that under Masisi the regional bloc failed to effectively deal with anti-Monarchy protest in Eswatini.

“When it comes to the issue of Eswatini, even though Masisi tried to engage a low level miniisteral delegation to engage stakeholders in the conflict, there were a lot of criticism from some quarters especially the opposition in Eswatini that the delegation was biased in its engagement as more consultation involved the ruling monarchy than a meaningful and impartial engagement with all parties involved.”

He added, “This in itself is a shortcoming not only of Masisi but the SADC organ (OPDS) as a whole as security challenges like the one that affected Eswatini demanded constructive engagement that involved all stakeholders.”

In rare feat, the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) also praised Masisi for his role in Mozambique.

“He (Masisi) has had some good success in Mozambique I would say, particularly in terms of getting to mobilise troops to counter the insurgency. we do not if the mission will be a success but, on the basis, just mobilising, we can say he (Masisi) has done well,” BPF spokesperson Lawrence Ookeditse said.

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