Dumezweni Dlamini, SAPSN Regional Coordinating Committee
The Southern Africa People’s Solidarity Network (SAPSN), Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) and the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition convened a virtual Extraordinary People’s Summit to shadow the Extraordinary Heads of State Summit scheduled for Maputo, Mozambique on the 23rd of June 2021. In the absence of inclusive platforms for people to engage with leaders at a regional level, SAPSN continues to urge SADC leaders to strengthen mechanisms to enable citizens’ participation and engagement on issues of regional concern.
The increased theft, loss, human rights abuses, and deaths being suffered by many communities because of the natural resources under their feet as epitomized by the Cabo Delgado conflict gives an important backdrop to Summit discussions. Other crisis prevalent in the region including the COVID pandemic, regional debt distress and growing food and insecurity are also foremost in the people’s consideration. However, the last action of Mozambiqe’s Chair of SADC compels an urgent focus on the impact of Extractivism on democracy, human rights and peace in the SADC region.
This People’s Summit will therefore seize the opportunity to review the progress made by SADC leaders and contribute people-centred alternatives to end the natural resource conflicts in Cabo Delgado Province and throughout the SADC Region.
Our key demands on Mozambique are worthy of reiteration.
WE urge SADC to limit any military intervention to a neutral SADC standby force with a clear legal mandate restricted to the purposes of peacekeeping and humanitarian facilitation.
WE demand ACCOUNTABILTY for the theft, loss and deaths caused by the Cabo Delgado conflict, and the institution of a locally-led National Dialogue process under SADC and AU supervision – but with regionally-respected senior figures of integrity at the helm – to resolve legitimate grievances without resort to armed force.
WE implore SADC leaders to reconsider and strengthen frameworks for political and security cooperation, to enable robust coordinated responses to regional collective challenges. In particular, we ask for credible guarantees of safe passage, humanitarian protection and refugee status for people fleeing the conflict from Mozambique into other SADC countries.
We call upon SADC Leaders to do more to address the xenophobic violence that periodically rears up in various SADC countries, as refugees and internally displaced people from the region’s many sites of suffering – due to local repressive, geopolitical, extractivist and climate-related factors – cross borders in desperation.
We call 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 affected communities including the payment of a climate debt to the citizenry of Mozambique must also be addressed by these firms and their governments.
SADC should be given a chance to come in on the governance level
Keynote address by Prof Nuvungu, Centro para Democracia e Desenvolvimento (CDD)
Mozambique has been facing violent extremism for almost 3 and half years. Some Comrades attending this meeting have been in the forefront for calling for SADC intervention. Our call grounded on the fact that violent extremism in Northern Moza was escalating- people being killed, state and private property destroyed, conflict spreading to the whole coastal area of Capo Delgado, causing Mozambique’s biggest humanitarian crisis since the end of civil war in 1992
The conflict has become an international conflict because the area facing violent extremism is home to Africa’s 3rd largest gas reserves which is a game changer.
Unlike other conflicts related to Extractivism in Africa Mozambique’s conflict is different in that the area in Cabo Delgado has been suffering for decades of Extractivism led by elites without development. The state has been absent for decades and even when they were present it was seen as protecting the interests of the elites and this included drug traffic and this created grievances as young people were marginalized an instrumentalized by powerful people to undertake illegal activities. Huge areas were captured by cartels of illegal trade and this is at the core of emerging problems in that area. Mozambique has dense forest in which illegal logging goes including by the Chinese. Then the gas industry came in. Now we have a governance failure and the utilization of the state by powerful people which then intersects with illegal trade, including drug trafficking resulting in a law-and-order problem. With the gas business booming we have cartels who have benefitted from the illegal trade system and disputing the ecosystem of governance of the oil and gas industry. The major source of conflict is not external – its domestic. Attack to Palma was a game changer as they did not attack the infrastructure of oil and gas, the insurgency remains faceless and is not fighting the Maputo government but targeting those that are part of the ecosystem of the oil and gas infrastructure.
SADC had been silent until May 2020 when the Organ for Defense and Security held a Summit in Harare. When the Organ held the meeting in Harare the Heads of State promised that they would help Mozambique fight the extremists but at that meeting it was notable that Tanzania was not attending. Thereafter we saw the South African Parliament organizing itself to organize an intervention. Same with Zimbabwe and Botswana calling for action but with time this momentum slowed and faded away until the recent attack on Palma at the end of March 2021. The Troika was agitated and one thing changed and that is the tone of SADC from helping to intervening and that was a game changer
International oil company – Total- decided to halt operations because of security concerns (Jan to March 2021) and it took 3 months for the Mozambique government to put in place the conditions that Total was asking for them to resume operations. The attack on Palma took place exactly two days after Total announced the resumption of operations following Mozambique government’s address of their concerns. This development was a major setback as foreigners in the oil and gas industry lost their lives. They were not the target but collateral damage. The attack meant attacking the heartland of the oil and gas industry in Moza. The attack lasted for 3 days and brought scrutiny on Mozambique’s defense as the extremists did not only get into Palma but carried out the attacks for 3 days despite the Mozambique army’s efforts to defend the area. Then an “angry’ SADC emerged as the attack was not only creating an economic and political turmoil but had the potential to spill over in the region setting the tone for intervention from SADC.
Mozambicans hoped that SADC would take a decisive decision at the summit held on the 27th of May and deploy a SADC mission to fight the extremists. SADC had a mandate to: 1. support Mozambique’s intelligence capacity – infiltration of Palma was clear evidence of Mozambique’s intelligence failure; 2. Support Mozambique’s Defense Forces; 3. Address cross-border governance issues. On the 27th of May SADC decided to discuss the matter further which was disappointing; the situation was calm between January and March but we still had attacks and while SADC sat the humanitarian crisis grew and the insurgents continued to grow in strength. SADC taking time which will allow the extremists to build a narrative
As Heads of state meet for the Extra-ordinary Summit the hope is that they will arrive at a decision but already the theme of the meeting shows a discontinuity from previous meetings where Mozambique was the center of the agenda. The theme talks of celebrating 40yrs of building peace and security and promoting development which is celebratory while turning a blind eye to the crisis in Mozambique which will be discussed in passing, back to comradism and not the anger expressed before
It will be disastrous to see military intervention from countries outside the SADC Region. SADC should be the first to offer help before engaging the African Union and beyond. If the Mozambique government is not willing to have SADC military intervention, then SADC should be given a chance to come in on the governance level.
The faith fraternity is advocating for the involvement of the Region but with limited success
Bishop Dinis Matsolo, Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Mozambique Synod And President the Justice, Peace and Reconciliation Commission of CCM
This is a regional issue and not a Cabo Delgado issue. Cabo could be an entry point for insurgents to enter the region. The crisis needs to be dealt with now.
Learning that there are other nationals involved in the crisis including Kenyans and South Africans among the insurgents shows us that it’s not a Mozambique problem. We need to learn more as currently we have a lot of speculation and are unsure as to how to deal with the crisis. We are currently dealing with the symptoms alone and this needs a solution.
What needs to be done:
Fire breaking – we need to create compound zones for safety. These zones will help to break the security crisis so that the insurgency does not move to other areas;
Refugee zones creation – people are moving to areas such as Pemba which they believe to be safer as the humanitarian situation escalates. It is worrisome that we have refugees that had gone to Tanzania but unfortunately were turned back which shows a strain in diplomatic relations with Tanzania.
Need to work with most vulnerable people – there are reports of young girls systematically kidnapped for sexual exploitation. We need to see how to best protect the children who make half of the 800 000 people that have been displaced. There is also the issue of psychosocial support for the people who have been traumatized. Empowerment has also become vital particularly agricultural training and support for young people.
We need to be mindful of the need for religious dialogue within our communities. We need to work together to support the suffering of the community, prayer only will not end the suffering. there is need for engagement and dialogue. We need to protect the vulnerable women, children, the old and those with disabilities.
The real problem is Extractivism that operates within the context of social and economic dysfunction where the State is hardly present.
Brian Kagoro, Executive Director, UHAI Africa Group
The crisis in Mozambique is a security crisis that needs intervention from the region with the 3 sections coming together. That is the intelligence, law enforcement and military. Faced with an insurgency that is financed internationally and with the involvement of nationals from outside the region. Mozambique cannot rely on SADC only to face the problem and trounce it at its roots. I am not ‘pro-SADC-only’ when handling this issue. Handling an international security situation needs a ‘SADC plus’ intervention.
The fact that the crisis is born out of extractivism does not mean it’s not currently a security crisis; useful that we agree that when you have a huge crisis like this one you take a holistic approach. In the context of beheadings and so- on there is need to stabilize as you intervene otherwise it becomes an endless humanitarian crisis.
When looking at other crises such as Chad basin, Nigeria, Gulf of Guinea, it’s clear that intelligence will need to go beyond the region. Leadership can come from within the region but if dealing with such complexities there is need for regional plus intervention
Interesting to note that Mozambique started with foreign forces. We had Russians and later Americans, Portuguese and French assisting the Mozambique army. Therefore, when SADC thinks of intervention it needs to be aware that the space is occupied by other players so as to work in a way that will not deepen the crisis further
It’s a developmental crisis that needs SADC to be adept at dealing with the complexity of the issue. Reports indicate that Mozambique has a humanitarian crisis with an estimated 800 000 displaced people, 1.3 million in need of humanitarian assistance and covid19 also is a critical issue. Dealing with the humanitarian crisis requires a very nuanced and complex approach that does not only accommodate the refuges and internally displaced but seeks to resolve some of the challenges that are in Cape Delgado and surrounding areas and this includes establishing a demilitarized zone.
There is also, a gender crisis which is an under reported issue with sexual violence being used; and women’s bodies being weaponized.
If you consider that northern Mozambique was already in severe economic and social crisis before the insurgency, you also realize a feminisation of poverty which was already a phenomenon; and this had been compounded by the security crisis. SADC alone does not have the capacity to address the sexualized and gender-based components of the conflict. We cannot wait until the military operations are done for us to address the gender crisis instigated by Insurgents and the violence faced by women within the context of displacement.
The real problem is Extractivism that operates within the context of social and economic dysfunction where the state is hardly present. We have a crisis that is both foreign externally driven and organic and how do we resolve this? We have to follow the money in East, North Africa, Middle East and western world. Complex channel of money movement involving local politicians, regional actors and those in the securocrat sector in both Moza and beyond. Secondly, we follow the money in terms of cost, it will need at least 150USD per soldier each day to cover rations, clothes, ammunition etc. This means that deployment will be costly. Who is going to pay this deployment? What we need is deployment with wisdom.
We need more actual people to people dialogues whether in Mozambique or outside and not just online meetings. We also need to get as many religious players on board and that includes Muslim and Christian players. The interfaith dialogue is important in finding more effective dialogue; these players have the ability to deliver humanitarian assistance and have a presence that is bigger and broader than what we normally have as NGOs. NGOs have skills and resources and this marriage between NGOs and the interfaith players will go a long way in terms of dialogue and humanitarian assistance. Once beheadings go beyond handful of people and there is a flow of weapons and armory as seen in Capo Delgado, things will not just go to default settings.
Lastly, there is need to strengthen intelligence and analysis. At the moment anyone can make claims because the intelligence is poor. CSOs need to come together, put resources together and our networks together to get a deeper analysis that covers Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, DRC and seeks to track money and track relationships which are mainly informal. It is Important to have good analysis. We need to keep pace with the insurgency itself, its actors, allies, admirers. Essentially strengthening analysis and have people to people engagement.
Social movements need to:
Build the competence and capacity to track the money that is flowing into the insurgency movement and tracking should be internationally as well not just regionally’.
Deployment costs money so which SADC states are willing to pay and what is the source of money for the deployment? If they are going to approach foreigners then we must also ask more questions.
We need to facilitate meaningful People to People dialogue. If Governments are not willing to talk then the church and the people should talk. CSOs can build a movement in conjunction with the progressive media to call for dialogue in dealing with the crisis.
Military intervention from SA, from SANDF and others will only protect the elites and not the people
Dale Mckinley, South Africa Cabo Delgado Solidarity Group
We are faced with a crisis of politics and socio-economic extractivism and not so much a security crisis. The security crisis created over many years are as a result of the complete disregard of people’s needs by the elites in Mozambique.
Consistent with what has been happening across the region with many different communities and now it has been politicized to a degree of having religious components being brought. But, the root of the insurgency lies in accumulation, extractivism and the ignoring of people’s needs which have been politicized and militarized. Unless these issues are addressed it will only get worse. If we do not address these issues, it will radicalize people further and will only open doors to more extremism.
In South Africa we do not divorce the issues from many other crises that have happened on the continent. The issue of Cabo Delgado came in when western multinationals and energy companies were invited to extract gas deposits and locals were completely ignored with massive amounts of money leaving Mozambique, leading to more alienation of the local people particularly the youth which others took advantage of.
The SA Solidarity Group calls for a complete non-military intervention in the crisis, military intervention from SA from SANDF and others will only protect the elites and not the people.
We must do more to shift the discourse – this anti-terrorism anti Islamist discourse plays into the right-wing agenda. We need to talk about social and economic and environment issues and shift focus completely and change the narrative for those who want to use Delgado as a new playground in order to pursue their own interests at the expense of the people
Focus should be on socio-economic interventions, on solidarity initiatives – webinars, adverts in newspapers. The South Africa Solidarity Groups plans to picket in front of Parliament and Union Buildings and create a situation to make it impossible for South Africa to do military intervention on behalf of South Africans without the mandate from the people. Missions under the name of peacekeeping have proved to be disastrous over the years.
Plenary discussions and contributions
Speaking on behalf of women and youth; on a humanitarian level the crisis brings on physical and psychological torture. The cruel and inhumane treatment happening in Moza is alarming especially on the issue of displacements that are on the rise. As we look at the welfare of women and children, they are forced into vulnerability situations and gender inequality
There is need for consistency and honesty in offering solidarity as SADC because there is need to solicit a regional stance and be religious to it because what is happening in Moza can easily spiral to other countries in the region and get out of hand if not properly contained regionally and in Africa.
We call for deliberate investment at all levels (youth groups, church level and civic society, national regional and continental levels) into accountability for human lives. The preservation of human life must take precedence over all and affected communities particularly women and children should be protected as a matter of urgency. There needs to be an investment in the people. Need to prioritise the welfare of the people above all else. Yollaner Millin, SEJA, ZIMCODD
It’s important for civil society to coordinate ourselves so that we fill in the gaps especially on the element of the displaced people. Countries like Malawi are willing to coordinate and help those in the conflict zone and play a role in engaging gvts in hosting the refugees from these countries; need for proactivity and not just reactionary moves by CSOs – a civil society coordination mechanism. John Msongo, Malawi.
Tanzania’s non participation on the troika in 2020 – the politics in TZ has changed since the new president took over and we will see TZ coming back to being the liberation hub; a country looking at the regional security issues and Moza will not be an exception. We will continue to engage the gvt through SAPSN focal points in the country and will arrange to speak to the Minister of Foreign Affairs on the issues so as to push for a stance on regional issues (Moza included). Important that we all engage our governments on the issue and not just Tanzania. Severino Alute, Tanzania
Interfaith support will break the back of this insurgency which will not survive if it does not gain local support. And there are two ways of cutting down local support – strengthen social and economic interventions while also strengthening its del-inkage from with pretentious religious ideology. Let the local Christians and Islamists come together to fight this insurgency.
There are claims that Congo and Mozambique rebels are collaborating but these are loose type of collaborations and they collaborate because they are invited by groups in Mozambique and not the other way round. SADC does not have the means and financial resources but it’s a platform to ask questions and call for transparent approaches in solving the issues of Capo Delgado
To Support More # SolidarityForCaboDelgado and Actions:
For Say No to Gas! international campaign, contact email@example.com
For work at SADC level, contact Fambai Ngirande of SAPSN: firstname.lastname@example.org
To join the solidarity campaign in South Africa, contact email@example.com
Shared Resources And Links
JA! / WoMin Editorial, “Suicidal SADC Military Deployment in Mozambique Looming”
Short documentary film on Cabo Delgado (in Portuguese, with Spanish subtitles)