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Minister of Defence Atanásio Mtumake (left) and his counterpart, Botswana's Minister of Defence, Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi Photos: Ministry of International Affairs Botswana
Botswana’s Defence, justice and security minister, Mr Shaw Kgathi says the bond between Botswana and Mozambique’s militaries should serve as a model for strengthening SADC militaries.
Speaking at the signing of a Defence Cooperation Agreement between the two countries recently, Mr Kgathi indicated that a more cohesive relationship between the militaries of SADC member countries would help in the building of capacity and capabilities, which would, in turn, enable the region to collectively and effectively respond to its security challenges.
“We should use joint efforts and economies of scale to surmount challenges we face and obtain things we could not do if we went it alone,” he stated.
Describing the relationship between Botswana and Mozambique as special, the minister defined the signing of the agreement as another milestone to the bond between the two countries, which he said dated back to the days preceding the latter’s independence.
Additionally, he noted that formal military to military relations between the two countries began at the end of Mozambique liberation war and were formalised through a Memorandum of Understanding in 2001.
“This was when the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) played a pivotal role in the peace-keeping under the UN Mission in Mozambique, which monitored the implementation of the 1992 Peace Agreement. Since then, the BDF and the Defence Forces of Mozambique (FADM) further strengthened relations through visits by senior officials, training and engaging in student exchanges,” he said.
He however indicated that the 2001 agreement had become redundant as it was limited to training and did not cover other vital areas of defence cooperation, hence the signing of the new agreement.
The new agreement, he stated, would facilitate broader collaboration and a wider scope in terms of training exchanges, military exercises, information exchanges as well as technical meetings, all of which he said would result in solutions to common security challenges.
The minister added that in order to enable effective implementation of the agreement, there was need to establish a defence committee between the two countries to explore immediate areas of cooperation.
In the spirit of working together, Mr Kgathi then extended to Mozambique, Botswana’s offer of 14 training slots at the Defence Command and Staff College, the Flying Training School as well as at the technical training schools.
Mozambique Minister of National Defence Mr Atanasio Mtumuke hailed Botswana for having, over the past years, continued to nurture its relationship with Mozambique.
Mr Mtumuke indicated further that, with defence and security issues remaining among the top priority areas for the Mozambique, the signing of the agreement with Botswana was a welcome development that would serve to enhance his country’s efforts in the area of defence.