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MBABANE – Government Spokesperson Alpheous Nxumalo’s office has clarified the real stand taken by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on the country’s political situation.

Government refuted reports that the Southern African leaders resolved, during the 42nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, to send the newly-approved Panel of Elders (PoE) to the country to deal with the political upheaval. The meeting, which was attended by the regional Heads of State, including His Majesty King Mswati III, was held in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on August 17, 2022.

In a statement issued by Nxumalo’s office, government said SADC released a communiqué after the meeting on the same day and the reports that were later circulated in various communication outlets were contradictory to the resolution. “Government would like to provide clarity on the circulating reports to the effect that SADC would be deploying a panel of elders to the Kingdom of Eswatini to address the country’s political situation.


“The resolutions highlighted in the communiqué is the official position that SADC has taken on the matter regarding the Kingdom of Eswatini and other issues that were addressed at the summit. Any other assertions as to the process that will follow regarding the Eswatini matter are therefore not a reflection of what was agreed on the summit,” reads the statement.

Government further reiterated its commitment to finding a lasting solution to the current political challenges facing the country and declared that it awaited the Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Organ Troika plus Eswatini, which will be held at a date yet to be determined. The communiqué issued by the SADC Secretariat, dated August 17, 2022 revealed that the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini made submissions during the meeting on the current situation. It further expressed that the SADC Heads of State resolved to hand the matter back to the new leadership of the Organ Troika to action immediately.

“Summit welcomed a brief report presented by the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini, regarding the security situation in the country, and while condemning the violence, it mandated the chairperson of the Organ to convene an Extra-Ordinary Summit of the Organ Troika plus Eswatini, at a date to be determined, aimed at finding a peaceful and lasting solution to the security challenges facing the country,” reads the communiqué by SADC.
Most media outlets attributed the comment on the PoE to outgoing Chairman of SADC Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. Ramaphosa revealed, during an update meeting with a journalist, that SADC had agreed to intervene in the current challenges facing the Eswatini Kingdom.


“SADC is now going to take this firmly in hand. Set up a fact-finding mission and send the panel of elders to go and find effective ways of dealing with the situation which could possibly end up being almost similar to what we have done in various other countries,” he said. The newly established PoE was set up in Malawi last year at the 41st Heads of State Summit. In February 28, 2022 a group of four leaders were appointed to steer the council forward. The group is made up of eminent persons, including former Heads of State and government, former ministers, as well as diplomats from SADC countries.


Former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete was announced as the Chairman of the council and former Mauritian Vice President Paramasivum Pillay Vyapoory, ex-Zimbabwean Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, and ex-Botswana Foreign Minister Charles Tibone, form part of the team. The PoE provide play an oversight role on political conflict and since they were appointed on a four-year term, they were further tasked with ensuring continuity of such matters where the Organ Troika unit change leadership.“Summit approved the establishment of an oversight committee made up of the SADC Panel of Elders (PoE) and the Mediation Reference Group (MRG) to ensure continuity and oversight on the implementation of reforms in the Kingdom of Lesotho.  

The Summit further approved the appointment of H.E. Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania and H.E. Paramasivum Pillay B. Vyapoory, former Vice President of the Republic of Mauritius as the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the Panel of Elders (PoE), respectively, a SADC structure with the mandate to facilitate the prevention, management and resolution of significant inter and intra-State conflicts, and is supported by the Mediation Reference Group (MRG),” reads the communiqué.

The SADC PoE is a part of the SADC Mediation and Conflict Prevention and Preventative Diplomacy structure that was established by the SADC Heads of State and Government in August 2004, to foster political and security stability in the region through the prevention and resolution of significant inter-State and intra-State conflicts. During the Summit, President Ramaphosa, also gave an update the progress made by the region in resolving the political impasse in the Kingdom of Lesotho.While noting the progress made, the Summit urged the government to expedite completion of the ongoing reforms, and to continue with peace, transitional justice and reconciliation process to engender national unity, and bring about national healing and cohesion.  


The Heads of State further welcomed the establishment of the SADC Regional Counter-Terrorism Centre (SADC-RCTC) in the United Republic of Tanzania (URT). The Centre is an institution that coordinates counter terrorism activities in the region. Member states were urged to strengthen cooperation and information sharing on terrorism, radicalism and violent extremism. The new Chairperson of SADC, His Excellency Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, expressed gratitude to all the Heads of State and Government for attending the Summit.


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