The proposed military intervention in Mozambique's troubled Cabo Delgado region will not solve anything, the executive director of the Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW), Claude Kabemba has said.
He also dismissed claims that Islamist terror group-related militants were behind the disturbances in the oil and gas-rich region north of Mozambique, alleging that disgruntled local villagers were behind the killings.
Kabemba was speaking during a Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) virtual press conference on the turmoil in Mozambique.
He went on to urge SADC leaders to consider dialogue first before opting for confrontation as military action alone would not only be unsustainable in the long run but will just be a stop-gap measure that does not address the underlying reasons for the disturbances.
"We are facing a very serious security threat in Mozambique which needs urgent solutions and any solution to that needs everyone to be brought together," said Kabemba.
"It cannot be a solution that excludes the people of Mozambique. SADC must privilege dialogue to find sustainable solutions to the underlying causes of the insurgency and violence we are experiencing in Cabo Delgado.
"There must be a proper analysis of those problems and definition of the problem. What we are seeing in Mozambique is a resource conflict that is reminiscent of what we have seen in other parts of the continent, in Liberia, Sierra Leon, CAR (Central African Republic), in the DRC, and Nigeria.
"For any decision or intervention SADC needs to know the underlying causes and provide the correct definition of the problem. The continual exclusion of communities adjacent to those big investments to benefit from them is one of the biggest problems we are facing across the continent. The extraction of resources in Africa has never benefitted Africans."
Over 700 000 people have been forced out of the Cabo Delgado region by these groups while thousands including expatriates working in the region have been killed.
According to Kabemba, the Mozambican government was at fault and must understand that only socio-economic solutions can solve the armed conflict.
"In the midst of poverty people often find ways to rise up and defend their interests. SADC intervention must focus on political engagement, restoring the rule of law, provision of basic services to communities in Cabo Delgado, and also ensure that any investment does provide social and economic development to the people.
"SADC must focus and make the Mozambican leadership understand that the solution to sustainable peace and security is through the resolution of the triple challenge of poverty, inequality, and unemployment.
"Any other solution will be temporary. We need to find a much more sustainable solution to the problems we are facing in that part of the country.
"There will not be a sustainable military solution without a socio-economic solution."
SARW works for participatory, transparent, and accountable utilisation of extractive resources in a manner that optimises transformative social and economic benefits and inter-generational equity, with sensitivity to environmental and human rights impacts.