Monday, July 15, 2013
Tanzania named among five illicit drug looters in SADC region
TANZANIA has been named among five countries within SADC region to involve in illegal business of illicit drug trafficking, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Benard Membe said yesterday in Dar es Salaam. Membe said during a brief of the 15th meeting of the Ministerial Committee Organ (MCO) responsible for Defense and Security Cooperation within SADC region which ended yesterday in the city noting that these are among the matters discussed during the whole day’s meeting session. He named other countries as Mozambique, South Africa, Angola and Namibia which he said are using their harbors and airports to facilitate the trade which is growing at an alarming rate across SADC region. However, he said adding that, the MCO members have asked defense and the security department concerned of the respective member states to beef up security in order to ward off the escalating illegal trade within the region. In the meantime, members of the meeting have also directed Namibia which is expected to chair the organ meeting next year to assume its responsibility as a country chair of the organ in September this year. A closed door meeting drew participants from 14 SADC member countries that included ministers for defense, security and foreign affairs who met to discuss two major issues associated with defense and security in their respective countries. Among other agendas are the long standing and unsolved issues of the rebel fighters in eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the issue of Zimbabwe’s general election and the Madagascar political tensions. With the DRC’s political situation, Membe said that Tanzania has been hailed by member states for its firm commitment it has shown since it sent its peace keeping forces to the troubled regions of the Eastern part of the DRC country. However, he said adding that, the member states have commended the job and asked Tanzania to continue their stay. He further noted that Tanzania has been selected to lead SADC observer mission during general election scheduled to take place in Zimbabwe end of this month.
He elaborated that, 50 Tanzania member delegation team including himself will leave for Zimbabwe early next week to take charge in the mission and after which they will be joined together with other 500 election observers across SADC region. However, he further noted that, as concerns with the Zimbabwe, the MCO committee members have assured Zimbabweans and the rest of the world that they shouldn’t worry anything about the elections as they expect it to be free and fair. For Madagascar’s long political tension, the MCO members have commended that, as the country’s democratic elections was scheduled t be held in July this year, now it will not take place owing to the fact that, the current President who is in power has violated the resolutions agreed last year under which he was required not to contest for the Presidential election. Following his decision, Membe noted that the African Unity member countries have boycotted the election and added that, the European Union has refused to fund the election. In view of this, however, he said adding that, due to his disobedience, the SADC member states have stopped the election. Mean while, the Executive Secretary of the SADC, Dr. Tomas Salomao said in an exclusive interview after the meeting that, the decision to increase military forces to help keep peace in DRC is still there as the rebel groups are increasing now and then. However, he s aid that, in a shortest time, the Malawian government is expected to deploy its forces soon to join fellow Tanzanian troupes by end f August this year in order to end up political impulse and bring the situation into normal. Other matters in discussion were the application filed by Angola which has asked to join the United Nations Security council since next year.