An international relations affairs expert has warned President Lazarus Chakwera against making a unilateral decision without Sadc to send Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldiers to fight Islamist insurgents in Mozambique.
President Chakwera told the media in Botswana during an extraordinary Sadc Troika meeting last week that he would send the Malawi troops in Capo Delgado to fight the insurgents.
But Wilson Khembo, an international relations expert says making the commitment unilaterally comes with risks.
“We potentially open a new battlefront for the Islamic insurgents, Ansar al Sunna. Ignoring the problem also leaves us exposed as intelligence has already suggested the existence of sleeper cells within our borders,” says Khembo on his Facebook wall.
Chakwera is the incoming chairperson of Sadc.
Khembo says Sadc has a blueprint for a coordinated and successful military operation, saying in 2013, M23 were havoc in eastern DRC but troops from Malawi, Tanzania and South Africa under the banner of Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) operating under the UN took the battle to M23.
“This was a fighting operation like no other and within months, M23 was defeated and their backers, Rwanda, retreated,” he says.
He says the FIB operations benefitted from South Africa’s sophisticated airpower and effectiveness of Malawian troops.
“Politically, the Sadc member states demonstrated that they could take the fight to African states that are using proxies to destabilize Africa,” says Khembo.
He says this same framework can be used in DRC and Mozambique, saying it is high time Sadc took initiative to resolve persistent conflicts in DRC, Mozambique and to some extent, Zimbabwe.