Fidelis Munyoro and Innocent Ruwende
The 11th session of the Zimbabwe-Mozambique Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security opened in Harare yesterday with the two countries expressing concern over smuggling of contraband and the influx of irregular migrants, particularly from the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa.
In his welcome and opening remarks, Defence secretary Mr Martin Rushwaya said poaching of elephants and rhinoceros remained major security challenges for the two countries.
The joint permanent commission provides an important platform for information sharing and the formulation of joint strategies that are used to address common security challenges facing Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
“Co-chairperson, apart from our bilateral security challenges, meetings such as this one afford us the opportunity to review regional and continental peace and security issues,” said Mr Rushwaya.
He commended Sadc for the vital role it is playing to promote peace in the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“It is our sincere hope that the political processes that are currently unfolding will lead to lasting peace and stability in those countries,” he said.
“It is our sincere hope that the political processes that are currently unfolding will lead to lasting peace and stability in those countries.”
Mr Rushwaya said it was also important that the two countries continued to cooperate in various programmes aimed at strengthening the capacity of defence forces and security services to handle common security challenges.
His Mozambican counterpart, Mr Fernando Farnela Campine, said the event was happening at a time when the regional and international military-political situation invited all sectors involved in defence and security to review existing concepts and models that have been employed to deal with potential threats.
“It becomes more and more apparent that the classic action of conflicts tends to be replaced by conflicts of low intensity, difficult to identify their origin and their ringleaders,” said Mr Campine in Portuguese.
“It is said that these conflicts are characterised by assiduous war actions, in which terrorism, piracy, illegal drug trafficking, the contraband of arms to illegal fishing, amoral crimes, among others, are added to our brother countries.”
Mr Campine said these activities were posing new challenges that imply the permanent need for identification and adoption of joint strategies with a view to their total dismantling.
“In this context, it is necessary to emphasise that the socio-political situation of the Republic of Mozambique and the Republic of Zimbabwe find themselves submerged in a national, regional and international context of subversive exploration of reason and natural resources to accommodate opportunities unrelated to the interests of the two peoples and countries.”
Mr Rushawaya and his counterpart expressed optimism that the three-day meeting will culminate in a lasting solution to the political and security challenges facing the two countries.