Zambia: The Zambia Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary, Norman Chipakupaku, has challenged the Defence and Security Wings of Zambia and Botswana to devise strategies that would strengthen the fight against threats to peace and stability in the region.
Chipakupaku said the emerging threats of terrorism and organized transnational crimes remain a great concern.
He was speaking when he officiated as Chairperson of the 24th Session of the officials meeting of the Zambia-Botswana Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security (JPCDS), which started on 24 July 2023 and is scheduled to conclude on 28 July 2023.
Chipakupaku said that Zambia and Botswana continued to enjoy strong bilateral relations, which resulted in the construction of the Kazungula Bridge and the one-stop border post.
He noted the need to speed up the enactment of a bilateral agreement to establish an authority to oversee the smooth operation of the Kazungula Bridge and the border post.
Chipakupaku thanked the Republican President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema and his counterpart, the Republican President of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Maisisi, for allowing the two countries to hold the 24th Session of the Zambia-Botswana JPCDS.
And speaking simultaneously, the Botswana Ministry of Defense and Security Permanent Secretary, Botlhale Makgekgenene, disclosed that Botswana had made progress on implementing agreements made during the 23rd session of the Zambia-Botswana JPC meeting.
Makgekgenene indicated that the signed agreements included a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) on Defence cooperation, an Extradition Treaty and an agreement on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.
Ms Makgekgenene disclosed that since the previous Session, Botswana had operationalized its first ever Drug Enforcement Agency, which was ready to cooperate with the Zambian Drug Enforcement Agency in the fight against drug trafficking.
The 24th Session of the JPCDC comprises the Defence and Security Committee, State Security and Public Security Committees.
The Zambia Air Force Commander, Lt Gen Colin Barry, is the Chairperson of the Defence and Security Sub Committee, while the Chief of the Botswana Defence Force, Lt Gen Placid Diratsagae Segokgo, is the Co-Chairperson.
The 24th Session of the JPCDC Officials Meeting will culminate in the Ministerial Meeting that will be chaired by the Zambia Minister of Defence, Honourable Ambrose Lufuma MP and co-chaired by his Botswana counterpart, Thomas Kagiso Mmusi.