SADC must address the economic root cause of DRC war: Kamwanyah

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) must address the ongoing conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) holistically by tackling the economic root causes that drive the persistent war, political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah has said.

In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, Kamwanyah said the current approach by SADC to solve the conflict through a military lens is narrow and will not usher the security threats facing eastern DRC – involving at least 122 rebel groups, according to a recent count by the United Nations.

“It is important that SADC must respond holistically, which is politically, to some extent militarily, but also economically because the root cause of those conflicts are not just politically but also of economic nature… That is because of a lot of economic hardships that are pushing people are manipulated by certain groups to take up arms,” he said.

Kamwanyah further said the current economic situation leads to especially young people taking up arms as they find themselves in dire economic conditions and battling unemployment.

On the same note, lecturer in the Department of Political and Administrative Studies at the University of Namibia, Erika Thomas said SADC has no capacity to seize the conflict and has historically proven its incapability.

SADC has formed the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the DRC and the region in February 2013, aimed at ushering in peace, stability and security in DRC and the Great Lakes region.

“SADC is a toothless organisation… Since the inception of SADC there are no benefits that one can even benchmark. It is a rhetoric organ and it has been that way… and will continue that way until they really show some tangible and vigorous solutions,” Thomas noted.

Meanwhile, SADC called for the immediate ending of hostilities by all armed groups in eastern DRC during the SADC Extra-Ordinary Summit of Organ Troika and Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) in Windhoek on Monday.

Equally, the summit approved the deployment of a SADC Force within the framework of the SADC Standby Force as a regional response in support of DRC to restore peace and security.

The summit was attended by the heads of states of Namibia, South Africa, DRC, Tanzania and representatives of Angola, Malawi and Zambia, including the executive secretary of SADC, Elias Magosi.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency