Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has endorsed a regional move to counter the insurgency in Mozambique, in what could effectively mean a bloc-to-bloc support to end the scourge of violence in the southern African country.
At a meeting with his Malawian counterpart Lazarus Chakwera in Nairobi, Kenyatta said Mozambique situation is an overall concern for the continent, and pledged to support regional efforts to counter the violence.
Dr Chakwera, the current Chairman of the southern Africa bloc, SADC, was this week on a three-day state visit to Nairobi, his first official trip to Nairobi since he took power in 2020. But it was significant because his bloc recently sent troops to Mozambique to beat down in insurgency fuelled by a group colloquially known as Al-Shabaab, but not related to the Somali terror group of the same name.
Incidentally, President Kenyatta is the chairman of the East African Community, whose member Rwanda, already sent troops to Mozambique in a bilateral arrangement with Maputo.
"Kenya is concerned with the current situation in Mozambique. In this regard, Kenya commends and supports the steps taken by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), under your able chairmanship, of working with Mozambique in neutralizing the terrorist threats in that country," Kenyatta told his guest, during a bilateral meeting at State House on Thursday.
"As friends of Mozambique, we stand ready to support your efforts."
Kenya, the October President of the UN Security Council, says it will continue to voice the continent's issues "in addressing the stubborn challenges that face our world," Kenyatta told his guest.
Although this was only the first public indication of support, it could as well provide mood for regional cooperation between the EAC and SADC, as far as combating insecurity goes.
In Nairobi, the leaders vowed to support Africa's "strategic partnerships", identifying insecurity and targeted expansion of regional trade as key.
"It is with this background that Kenya remains committed to working with Malawi in the realisation of the EAC-Comesa-SADC Free Trade Areas as well the Africa Continental Free Trade (AfCFTA)," Kenyatta added, referring to the trading blocs in Africa.
In a speech in Mwea, Kirinyaga County n Wednesday, Dr Chakwera said both countries were bonded by a common enemy, similar struggles and identical visions.
He spoke to a gathering to mark this year's Mashujaa Day celebrations.
"For me visiting Kenya is proof of our brotherhood and unity," he said in a prepared speech in Kiswahili. "It is my prayer that Kenyans and Malawians maintain togetherness, to build the economies of our countries, to support one another, maintain peace in our countries and Africa."
Dr Chakwera, a cleric before he joined politics, then ventured into his signature pulpit poetry, saying the ties between the two countries did not just emerge from the blue, but was a vision by their respective forefathers.
"Today, Kenya's joy is Malawi's joy. For us the struggle for independence in Kenya and Malawi is one of the things that binds us together. The struggle for independence in Kenya and Malawi was led by patriots who sacrificed their freedoms to safeguard ours."
The two sides signed a number of collaborative arrangements meant to cement what their respective leaders called "intricate fraternal bonds", and secure prosperity.
And after a 3rd Kenya-Malawi Joint Permanent Commission (JPCC-3), the two sides signed memoranda of understanding on defence, political and diplomatic consultations, health, tourism, cooperatives, training, fisheries development as well as aquaculture.
The JPCC has been an arena where both country's diplomats negotiate, caucus or discuss issues of mutual interest.
The two sides vowed to finalise deals on forestry management, ICT, police service training, protection of investments and avoidance of double taxation, urban development and youth development "so as to fully unlock the potential of our bilateral ties for the benefit of the Citizens of our two Republics."
The eight instruments will not be specific for now and both sides will have to negotiate further bilateral agreements that will provide timelines, costs, scale as well as routine. But it marks a significant step towards a framework for cooperation, diplomats told the Nation on Thursday.
One area of cooperation the two leaders are targeting is prevention of cross-border crimes and exportation of violent extremism, which is currently partly blamed as the cause of the insurgency in Mozambique, Malawi's neighbour.