The Director of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, Tanki Mothae has urged participants at the AU Police and Civilian-Focused Exercise workshop to ensure cooperation in peace and security efforts of the five African Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Officially opening the workshop organised by the African Union and attended by representatives of the five RECs and the Regional Mechanisms (RMs), Director Mothae said all efforts should be made to consolidate peace on the continent.
The African Union Commission (AUC) workshop on lessons learnt from Exercise Njiwa, which is the police and civilian focussed exercise that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2012 was hosted by the SADC Directorate of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation AT Grand Palm, Gaborone on February 19 – 21, 2013.
Exercise Njiwa, also known as AU POLCIVEX is a product of Exercise AMANI AFIRCA 1, which was staged by the AUC in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2010, and which became the corner stone of the African Standby Force (ASF). Africa had set itself certain targets that it had to reach in its endeavour for capacity development in the areas of Peace and Security. One of those target areas was the Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) among the pillars of which was the ASF. The target set for the establishment and operationalization of the ASF was originally the year 2010. Exercise Amani Africa 1 (a command post exercise - CPX) was therefore a flag-ship towards the operationalization of the ASF. However, immediately after the exercise, the exercise organisers and the exercise evaluation team decided on an after action review (AAR) to make a quick exercise appraisal. It was on that AAR that all exercise participants, evaluators and observers had the same opinion as regards the level of police and civilian competence in peace support operations (PSO) and the general acumen in exercising.
A resolution to undertake a police and civilian focussed exercise was consequently made. That resolution let to what later became the AU POLCIVEX, which was supposed to be a Map Exercise (MAPEX) for the two ASF components.
Following Exercise Njiwa, the AU decided in consultation with the SADC Organ to hold this Exercise Njiwa lessons learnt workshop in Gaborone The AUC also decided to twin the Exercise Njiwa lessons learnt workshop with a briefing on what is expected of SADC in preparing and hosting the Exercise AMANI AFRICA II, which SADC volunteered to host in 2014. Organisers, participants and other guests at the workshop included the Amani Africa Exercise Director from the AU Headquarters and his team; participants from the RECs / RMs; mentors; the Pearson Centre, who sponsored Exercise Njiwa; and the European Union representatives, who sponsored Exercise Amani Africa 1. A long list of recommendations was made from the following four broad categories:
a. Exercise scenario and design of thematic activities.
b. Exercise management and delivery of RLS.
c. Mission headquarters, network and use of information.
d. Media strategy and advocacy.
The workshop was closed by the Exercise Director who thanked all, particularly SADC for having successfully hosted such an important continental workshop. He also advised SADC to start immediately with the preparations for hosting Exercise Amani II, indicating the importance of identifying the host country well in time. He wished SADC a successful host of the biggest exercise the continent has ever held.