The Republic of Zambia, the current SADC Chairperson of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation replaced The Republic of Angola as the new Head of SADC Preventive Mission in the Kingdom of Lesotho (SAPMIL) in a handing over ceremony held in Maseru, Kingdom of Lesotho on the 20th September 2018. The new Head of Mission is now, Brigadier General (Retired) Timothy Kazembe from the Republic of Zambia who took over from Ambassador Matias Matondo from the Republic of Angola.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of National Defence of Angola, General Salviano De Jesus Sequeira Kianda said the presence of SAPMIL in the Kingdom of Lesotho is important and the Republic of Angola will continue to participate in the mission until the complete restoration of the security and political stability in Lesotho.
Upon delivering his remarks, the Minister of Defence of the Republic of Zambia, Hon. Davies Chama observed that SAPMIL has played a significant role in maintaining peace and stability in the Kingdom of Lesotho since its deployment in November 2017. He noted that peace and security within SADC Region are essential components to create an enabling environment for inter-state cooperation. He commended the Government of Lesotho for the support it rendered to SAPMIL and further encouraged the Government of Lesotho to maintain the momentum towards the implementation of reforms to ensure the maintenance of stability in the country.
In his remarks, the Director of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation at the SADC Secretariat, Mr Jorge Cardoso, on behalf of SADC Executive Secretary, Her Excellency, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, commended Ambassador Matias Bertino Matondo and the other SAPMIL personnel, for the commitment shown since the launch and deployment of the Mission in November 2017. He also commended the people, and Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho, for their cooperation and support to the SADC Mission, citing it as a contributing factor to the restoration of security in the country.
Director Cardoso reminded the audience that the mission was deployed in response to the request from the Lesotho Government, after the tragic incident of September 2017, in which the former Lesotho Defence Force Commander was assassinated. The mission was deployed to complement the efforts of the SADC Oversight Committee to strengthen peace and security in the country and to assist in the implementation of the sector wide reforms, especially the Security Sector Reforms.
He observed that SAPMIL and the Oversight Committee have assisted the Government of Lesotho and its security agencies to make progress on the reforms. This contributed to the maintenance of peace, law and order in the country. However, despite the achievements made thus far, more work needs to be done to consolidate the progress that has being achieved.
The Handing-Over ceremony was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs of Angola, Mr Bamukina, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs in Zambia, Dr Chileshe Mulenga, and Defence and Security Chiefs from the Republic of Angola, Zambia and the host nation Lesotho.
The Ministers of the Republic of Angola and Zambia also paid a courtesy call on the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Lesotho Honorable Samonyane Ntsekele.