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Africa: can we prevent crises and conflicts?

04.02.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
For a few years now, the term “Afro-optimism” has been gaining momentum and reviving the African people. The continent is experiencing strong socio-economic growth as they strive to lower inflation, lower debts and eliminate budget deficits. Experts say that Africa seems to be starting on a healthy foundation of growing development. Africa’s only downside is the fact that it remains at the top of the list of continents most affected by conflict and crisis. A recent study conducted by the University of Sussex in England demonstrates that in 2018, the continent faced more than 1495 violent incidents causing no less than 21,772 deaths.

In the face of this disturbing situation, the prevention of conflicts and crises has been a priority for African Nations in recent years.

Crises and conflicts are major causes of the destruction of infrastructure in African countries and have led to the exodus of its population who are forced to flee their own country, to find refuge in other states. Other people immigrate to other continent in atrocious conditions. The Atlantic Ocean has become the cemetery for thousands of African emigrants trying to reach Europe.

UNDERSTANDING FOR BETTER ANTICIPATION

Perspective “legally” reflected by the African Union. The crises in North Mali, Southern Sudan or Central African Republic  further reinforce the idea of ​​finding effective instruments to understand the origin of these conflicts in order to anticipate them as soon as possible.

AU member countries seem to be keen to find common solutions to overcome them. More importantly, relatively peaceful  countries such as Kenya or South Africa are actively engaged in efforts to perform  strategies to prevent conflicts.

However, leading this “legal commitment” towards “effective political engagement” requires a long process of work and involves the implementation of a fairly complex process, especially in the delineation of the conflict prevention process where one can ask the question: Where does the prevention policy begin and when does it come to an end?

The second obstacle to a prevention system is the principle of sovereignty of States. The lack of political will of the African heads of state to let external actors express their opinion in the management of their internal problem constitutes a decisive break. The African Union has also ceased to call on its members to take collective action instead of focusing on the principles of sovereignty that are all relative.

The delimitation of certain contours of sovereignty in favor of the establishment of a common force of prevention and struggle against the identified investigators of conflicts would create solid entities taking into account more collectively the destiny of the African people.

ELECTIONS, A SOURCE OF CRISIS

Elections are the path by which the people decide on the people who will lead them. In such a process, tensions are often unavoidable. As if to illustrate this, Zimbabwe’s elections in July 2018 provoked violence between the people and the police resulted in 6 deaths. Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and its innumerable twists and turns brought the country closer to areas of uncertain turbulence.

If they take place this year, the presidential elections in Guinea Bissau will probably be tainted by tensions because the country is experiencing a political crisis that continues to worsen. Mozambique will not be spared, elections in late 2019 will probably happen in a conflictual climate. Currently the war  of ideologies  seems to emerge between the two political parties : the Liberation Front of Mozambique and the National Resistance of Mozambique.

Although the main purpose of election observations does not serve conflict prevention. The context of the political climate in African countries has led it to move in this way.

AFRICAN SOLUTIONS FOR AFRICAN PROBLEMS

Leitmotif preached by all African countries when Western organizations want to interfere in their affairs. It is in this same perspective that all African nations should give more credence to the AU and allow it to besiege full power over any and all problems that may destabilize peacekeeping on any given territory. The Continental Early Warning System or the Sage Group are a perfect example of the AU’s commitment to maintaining peace in Africa. Even though these various bodies help to mitigate crises and manage to prevent conflicts, they are nonetheless obsolete, overwhelmed by the extent of certain situations. This was the case when the results of the most recent elections in the DRC were announced, in which the AU’s intervention was more than disputed.

Given the efforts made by the AU to ensure the protection of African citizens in a relevant way, the urgency of meeting this challenge is imperative.

For the time being, there is no specific article specifying the AU’s scope of action for the conflict prevention protocol. Yet despite the need to respect the sovereignty of the Member States, certain situations require the AU to intervene quickly. Current examples are the tensions in Mali and the Central African Republic, which are getting bogged down. In such cases, the African Union should be able to lobby and provide appropriate sanctions.

PANAFRICAN ARMED FORCES IN LAST APPEAL

Africa must unite. Strengthening a common security system would only be beneficial for the continent. AU member countries could look further into the prospect of building a supreme armed force that is owned and shared by all in order to shelter the entire population without exception and protect it for all the dangers that might arise. A pan-African armed force that would put all countries on an equal footing and ready to act in the event of a major disturbance to lasting peace. With goals such as:

  • Protecting the infrastructure from destruction (airports, hospitals, universities and schools, places of worship, and other sports facilities)
  • A bureau of investigation and arrest of warlords
  • Securing and protecting property and people in border areas

The time, the main objective must be for coalitions both to ensure the internal security of the continent but also to deter external forces that want to attack us.

Finally, in addition to mediation, conflict prevention includes efforts by all African governments to unite and build together legal and political instruments to ensure respect for the fundamental human rights of African citizens. We keep repeating “Pan-Africanism” is the only solution to African problems.

Article from AFRIC Editorial

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