Zimbabwean contingent back from SADC CPX-Umodzi
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The Zimbabwean Contingent has returned home after spending two weeks participating in the Southern African Development Community Command Post Exercise (CPX) Ex-Umodzi, held at Malawi Armed Forces College (MAFCO), about 120km from the capital, Lilongwe.
CPX-Umodzi was meant to test Mission Leadership, Command and Management including critical staff complements’ preparedness for Rapid Deployment Capability under the auspices of the African Union peace support operations. SADC will assume the African Union Peace Support Operation duty roaster in January to June 2019. Hence, the exercise was organised to assess the planning capabilities and evaluate coherence and integration of the SADC Standby Force before it can be deployed to any mission.
The Zimbabwean contingent had officers and members drawn from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Prison and Correctional Services, and civilians from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, as well as, the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
Participants for CPX-Umodzi were drawn from 12 SADC countries, namely; Angola, Botswana, DRC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The member states which did not send troops are the four island countries; Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros and Seychelles.
The CPX-Umodzi was based on a simulation of a real peacekeeping mission scenario. It was designed to test the planning, integration, coherence and adherence of SADC SF to the African Union’s Standard Operating Procedures. The three components of the SADC SF comprising of the military, police, and civilian component were put together and different scenarios created to test decision making in a multidimensional peacekeeping operation at a fictitious country, called Kunta in Tandadzi region.
The exercise tested the Operational Level structures of the Mission, validated the actions at Tactical level with the Strategic Framework in the (Exercise Mission) mandate. The exercise had specific structures like the Mission Headquarters, Rapid Deployment Centre serving as the start up force for the African Standby Force (ASF) and the Military, Police and Civilian Headquarters.
The SADC Standby Force intervention was firstly based on Level 6 (Peace Enforcement), which involved the rapid deployment of the military to stabilise the situation.
The police and civilian components then followed on Level 5 for a Peacekeeping operation. The Flash reports, coined as Injects, were used to test the lead response time, problem solving skills, team work, communication and adherence to the AU Guiding Principles and Policies.
The exercise was officially opened by Deputy Minister of Defence for the Republic of Malawi, Hon. Everton Chimulirenji. The guest of honour at the closing ceremony was the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Malawi, Hon. Dr Emmanuel Fabiano. Other dignitaries who graced the occasion included the SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, representatives of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, AU Commission and Security Chiefs.
Dr Fabiano stressed the point that peace is not cheap, and the most affected groups during conflict situations are usually women and children.
“Peace and security are the bedrock of development, and as such there is need to secure and promote peace at all times,” he said.
The exercise was conducted under the theme “Africa for Peace and Prosperity”.
It covered a communication orientation exercise that involved setting up the communication systems; networks, radios and other equipment required for the smooth running of the mission. Communication was largely done through the intranet mail system, telephone and radio system. It also included the Map Exercise, i.e plotting of the operational maps for the purposes of conducting the exercise. The map was marked on daily basis to indicate incidences and the deployment plans of troops.
To spice up the occasion, Malawi hosted a cultural day at Sunbird Beach along Lake Malawi. Understanding and respecting the culture of local people is now very important to the success of all missions, and this day was refreshing to the participants attending CPX-Umodzi.
The ZRP contigent was led by Assistant Commissioner Sdyney Thethe. Other contigent members were Chief Superintendents Sheritah Bizeki-Nyoka and Kerina Mhere, Superintendents Nkululeko Dube and Justine Pauta, Chief Inspector Kelvin Kudakwashe Madenyika, Inspectors Moses Moyo and Shupikayi Ndlovu, Assistant Inspector Cecil Tawanda Matema and Sergeant Joasi Manhanga