No budget for Mozambique anti-terrorism operation
Covid-19, Anti-poaching ops gobble BDF budget
Mozambique hesitant on SADC military intervention
The deployment of the military to Carbo Delgado Province in Mozambique to help fight Islamic insurgents is facing critical challenges, which might prove difficult to overcome.
On the 6th of April 2021 Botswana Defence Force Commander Lieutenant General Placid Segokgo wrote to the Defence Logistics Command (DLC) to prepare a comprehensive logistics estimates for a Battalion Group to deploy for a period of six months.
President Masisi who is the chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security will need the information before the SADC extra ordinary summit on Mozambique which will be held on the 28-29 April 2021.
Information gathered by this publication have revealed that DLC which is responsible for the Corps of Mechanical Engineers, Corps of Food Services, Corps of Force Ordinance, Corps of Transport Services and Military Health Services, has raised a red flag about the readiness of the BDF for deployment due to limited resources.
Though BDF through their spokesperson Colonel Dikole failed to respond to a questionnaire sent to them on Monday regarding their preparedness for Mozambique mission, sources at Sir Seretse Khama Barracks close to authority have confided that the BDF is too broke to go to Cabo Delgado and fight Islamic insurgents.
The DLC have reasoned that already their resources are over stretched through the Anti-Poaching Operations and helping in the fight against Covid -19. “Already we have committed resources helping the Covid-19 team during curfew and also used lot of our resources during lockdowns and anti-poaching operations took most of our resources due to the high numbers of poaching in the delta,” revealed a senior army officer.
Corps of Transport Services is said to have indicated that most of their fleet is obsolete as the last they procured vehicles was in 2018 which were 500 second-hand Land Rover 110 Defenders from United Kingdom.
DLC was also expected to provide level 1 medical support which they indicated that they will also need new ambulances as the ones they have are not in good conditions as they were bought as second hand from the United Kingdom military. BDF bought the 45 ambulances in 2017 from the United Kingdom and had to reconfigure them and now most of them have been deployed to District Health Management Team (DHMT) to assist during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The deployment in Mozambique is expected to take minimum of six months as the insurgency has now morphed and now threatens the regional security especially Tanzania which is close to Cabo Delgado province.
President Masisi as the chair of SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security is also facing another challenge as Mozambique is yet to agree to any military assistance from the regional block.
The next week meeting which will take two days will also have to convince Mozambique government to accept the military assistance from the regional block. Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi has repeatedly emphasized his country’s sovereign status and indicated that Maputo alone would decide on the terms and conditions of any international aid it may need. Before the Maputo Extra Ordinary Summit, Nyusi reaffirmed that Mozambican sovereignty impedes it from requesting military help.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations Dr Lemogang Kwape confirmed that there will be another SADC meeting to look at the security challenges faced by Mozambique. Asked if it is true Mozambique has rejected the military intervention, Kwape said the issues surrounding Mozambique will be discussed at the next week meeting which he refused to state where it will be held.
An expert on regional politics, Solly Rankgomo observed that the reluctance by Mozambique to accept regional help has something to do with domestic politics as Nyusi thinks it might undermine his presidency. Rankgomo opined that such fear could be the reason why Mozambique invited the United States Army Special Forces, colloquially known as the “Green Berets” to train Mozambican marines who are fighting the insurgents.
“He thinks that if he accepts military intervention from the region it will seem as if he has failed to restore order in his country but it has shown that Mozambique military has no capacity to fight and contain the insurgents,” said Rankgomo, adding that Nyusi is walking a tight rope.
On the BDF readiness to deploy forces to Mozambique, Rankgomo said it is easy to understand that indeed their resources have been over stretched fighting dual battles of Covid19 and poachers. Instead, as a solution, he proposed that in view of emerging resource challenges SADC countries must pool their resources together in order to help fight the insurgents in Mozambique.