As if Mbeki doesn't have enough on his plate with issues on Zimbabwe, BusinessDay reports that in the upcoming weekend, SADC ministers will meet to plan for the activation of a SADC regional peacekeeping force, which has already been mooted since August 2007. The objective of the meeting, really, is to brainstorm on how it can begin to deploy on peacekeeping missions.
The meeting in Durban--to be chaired by Angola--will take recommendations for a SADC summit next month when President Mbeki is "expected to take over the chairmanship" of tyhe 14-member SADC from Jose Eduardo Dos Santos.
Discussions are in the offing also on a regional early warning centre that is scheduled for the end of the year.
More importantly however is the significance of this regional standby force.
By 2010, the African Union plans to have completed an African Stanby Force, with regional standby forces for the regional economic communities (RECS). This falls into line with the AU's protocol on peace and security, "
...which required all regional economic communities to have units that fed into the standby army. So far, the Economic Community of West African States is the other regional bloc that has made the most progress.
It's easy to check that. Only in June this year, a training in Bamako for ECOWAS Standby Force -- codenamed "Jigui 2008" took place, with a Malian logistic sub-command; a Nigerian East Sub Command and a Senegalese West sub command, as well as ECOWAS Staff from the Commission in Abuja.
East Africa established its regional peacekeeping force also in August 2007, with IGAD hoping that it might ease the pressure, what with demands for Darfur.