Tuesday, February 05, 2013

SADC Begins Training Standby Force Inspectors

Sadc begins training Standby Force inspectors

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 00:00
Zimbabwe Herald

SADC has started training inspectors to improve the operation and proficiency of the military component of the Sadc Standby Force in war times.

The inspectors, drawn from all Sadc countries, include civilians and will inspect different countries’ preparedness for any eventuality.

This is the first group to be trained for the inspectorate job.

Members of the group would in turn train their colleagues in their respective countries.

Their duty will be to inspect physical military equipment of all countries that pledged to contribute to the brigade.

Sadc Defence Inspectorate Working Group chairperson Colonel Joseph Mathambo of Botswana said the inspectors would physically examine military hardware and personnel to be deployed at the shortest possible time when needed.

“We have instances where pledging countries were found lacking when it was time for deployment and this inconvenienced the whole brigade so we decided that we inspect and see the actual troops and equipment on the ground.

“They will also train the civilian component of the brigade who comprise the police, non-governmental organisations who will be providing critical services to the brigade such as humanitarian assistance, dealing with children and other vulnerable groups.”

The Sadc DIWG trainer’s trainer course began yesterday and would end on February 15.

In 2007, regional countries resolved to contribute troops under the SSF to defend members states from revolts and aggression

The brigade, under the command of Tanzania, is in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where M23 rebels had launched an onslaught against President Joseph Kabila’s government.

Officially opening the course in Harare yesterday, acting Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Lieutenant General Valerio Sibanda said there was a need for Sadc member states to speak with one voice.

He said Sadc members states should be prepared for any eventuality.

“For this to be effective, we have to be united and speak with one voice,” he said.

“In your various countries you have your own inspectorate format but with this working group it was found necessary that you should adopt the same format regionally. The course is designed to ensure that we have a common understanding of the inspectorate procedure so that you can train others in your respective countries. If we are to harmonise our operations we have to harmonise our training first.”

He said the courses should have began long back but had been delayed due to financial constraints.

The programme had been on the cards for sometime but failed to take off because of lack of resources, he said.

“I urge you to take the course seriously and work hard to achieve the objectives of the whole programme.

“I am informed some of the courses you will take up include operational readiness and quality assurance and I think these will help us a lot.”

Lt Gen Sibanda said Zimbabwe expected to hold elections before the end of June.

“You are aware of the current political and economic developments in our country. I shall not comment much on that, suffice to say the inclusive Government brought after the mediation of Sadc is operating fairly well,” he said.

“We are currently formulating a new constitution and the parties are free to consult and influence the process as much as they can. Our desire is to have a new constitution before elections that are due before June.”

He said the indigenisation programme being carried out countrywide was fair and transparent.

“As a country we have made endeavours to empower our people through the Indigenisation Act,” he said. About 30 participants drawn from Sadc countries are attending the course.

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