1. The Southern African People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN) is disappointed by the failure of the Double Troika Summit (Summit) of the Heads of SADC to confront the greed and climate destruction at the center of the ongoing natural resource conflict in Cabo Delgado Province in Mozambique. SADC’s collective failure to conclusively support humanitarian and ecological needs at this critical time brings to question SADC’s Leaders collective resolve to contribute to the achievement of lasting peace in Mozambique. This is unacceptable, as so many of our people are suffering, and as the combined impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate crisis bears down on all of us, especially the civilians caught between the conflict.
2. That the Summit, only ‘considered the proposed regional response in support of the Republic of Mozambique,’ reminds us again of the urgent need to reimagine SADC defense and security cooperation arrangements – and bolster these with genuine sustainable development – so as to respond to complex and intersecting challenges in the Region. The urgent call by the World Health Organisation to address basic-need shortfalls for 1.2 million people in northern Mozambique is foremost in our minds, and SADC institutions – including respected civil society forces that provide emergency relief – must be capacitated to assist a Maputo government whose armed forces, finance ministry and bureaucracy are struggling to address the broader impacts of the conflict.
3. Many in the SAPSN network question the very legitimacy of military interventionism to resolve conflicts. We therefore call for the demilitarization of Northern Mozambique. South African mercenaries from Dyck Action Group and the Paramount Group must therefore be sent home forthwith, given their chequered recent histories. SADC’s major armies – not just the Mozambican FDS, have been implicated in reports of human rights abuses against civilians with inadequate accountability and compensation systems when human rights are violated. Three armies, in particular, have also been implicated in offering services to dictatorial regimes so that their own home-country ruling elites gain benefits from mineral, oil and gas extraction: the Zimbabwe Defence Forces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1998; the Angolan Armed Forces in Cabinda since 2004; and the South African National Defence Force in the Central African Republic in 2012-13 and in the DRC since 2013.
4. As the SADC communique puts it, ‘addressing terrorism and ensuring lasting peace and security in Mozambique’ are vital. The Mozambican Government and especially the people of Mozambique require support so that the deep-rooted underlying conditions of underdevelopment that lie behind the insurgency are resolved. While H.E. President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi has successfully requested certain undisclosed forms of U.S., French and Portuguese military support, such increased capacity – especially in the absence of a SADC-guaranteed framework for diplomatic engagement to seek political-economic and -ecological solutions – risks worsening the conflict. The record of the U.S. led ‘war on terror’ and European military adventures in areas rich with fossil fuels is appalling, and for decades and indeed centuries, Africa has repeatedly witnessed armies from these countries committing atrocities. Only this week in Berlin has the 1904-08 genocide of Namibian Herero people – by the German colonial army – been acknowledged, with an inadequate reparations payment offered. The British, French, Portuguese and U.S. armies are not even at the stage of officially repaying damages done in Africa by their troops.
5. The announcement of a SADC Business Forum to occur during the upcoming Heads of State Summit on June 20 in Mozambique – with its high-profile panel on energy – is a painful reminder of SADC leaders’ misguided faith in fossil-dependent economic growth, despite mounting evidence of this system’s destabilizing impact on regional peace and security, peoples’ livelihoods and regional ecosystems. We urge a boycott of this Summit, mindful of the loss and damages caused by greenhouse gas emissions, extractivism and climate chaos in Mozambique and the SADC region. Economically, these are also counter-productive investments: even the World Bank’s 2018 book The Changing Wealth of Nations acknowledges vast losses due to fossil fuel extraction and CO2 emissions. Angola, South Africa, the DRC, Zimbabwe and Mozambique are especially hard-hit in net economic terms.
6. The International Energy Agency (within the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) has stated, on May 18, that no further fossil fuel development – including gas – can be tolerated if the Paris Climate Agreement targets are to be met and catastrophic climate change is to be avoided. SAPSN therefore calls upon Total, ExxonMobil, ENI, China National Petroleum Corporation, SASOL and all other transnational corporations, suppliers, purchasers and investors to divest from conflict-ridden gas extraction Projects in Cabo Delgado. The just and acceptable resolution of the legitimate grievances of communities and the Mozambican citizenry in Cabo Delgado must also be addressed by these firms and their governments, since so many of the emissions causing Mozambique Channel heating – and in turn, the recent intensification of cyclones (such as the 225 kph Cyclone Kenneth that in 2019 devastated northern Mozambique) – emanate from them. We repeat our demand for a climate debt to be paid the people of Cabo Delgado and all affected people in our region.
7. It is time for SADC leaders to decisively confront resource-based conflicts in the region. Key to this is the overdue need to strengthen regional transparency and accountability mechanisms in the extractive sector. This will require the publication of all relevant contracts, and the establishment of minimum standards to regulate taxation, human rights (including future generations’ rights to access natural wealth), and corporate governance associated with the extractive industries in Southern Africa, while envisioning and rapidly implementing a just and equitable, post-extractive future.
8. At a time, emergency aid must be distributed to victims of the army, of the mercenaries and of Al-Shabaab, at a time the climate debt needs to be paid to Mozambicans, and at a time fossil fuels must remain underground for our future generations’ sake, the Cabo Delgado crisis requires the most urgent rethink by our entire society, especially by SADC’s leadership.
Abaixo extractivism! Abaixo militarisation!
Southern Africa is not for sale! Globalise the Struggle, Globalise Solidarity, Globalise Hope!