Saturday , August 13 2022

Africa needs to silence its weapons, Mbeki says


Cape Town: Failure to manage diversity is often the source of the conflict on the African continent, as we are seeing in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia, said former South African President Thabo Mbeki.

Mbeki made the remarks during a high-level open UN debate on diversity and state-building held at the UN headquarters in New York last week.

According to the UN, the meeting, chaired by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, was held because it was found that most situations on the Security Council’s agenda arose from internal conflicts involving issues of identity, whether ethnic. , racial, religious or socioeconomic. a part.

Kenya prepared a concept note before the debate.

The concept note stated that most of the situations on the Council’s agenda came from internal conflicts in which issues related to identity, whether ethnic, racial, religious, partisan or socio-economic, are often a cause of conflict or they are exploited to feed it.

He noted that throughout history, these forms of identity have been “manipulated and turned into instruments of mobilization to compete for economic resources and political power.”

In addition, he noted that the real or perceived marginalization and exclusion of groups from political processes and economic resources have been a source of violence and the formation of separatist movements.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame, as well as the first female Vice President of the Afghan Parliament, Fawzia Koofi, were among those attending the briefing.

Kagame and Mbeki virtually informed the delegates.

In his initial statement, Mbeki said that a few years ago, the AU of the African Union made the bold decision to silence weapons in 2020.

This meant that the continent’s political leadership came to the idea that Africa should finally get rid of the scourge of war and violent conflicts, which had persisted throughout almost every year of independence, Mbeki said.

“In this context, African heads of state and government were fully aware of the critical need for Africa for sustainable peace that the Security Council has convened to discuss.”

“As the Council knows, more or less standard procedures have been followed over the years to resolve conflicts that had erupted in Africa.”

Mbeki said the international community would intervene to ensure the belligerents conclude a ceasefire agreement. Peace forces would then be deployed to ensure ceasefire compliance.

Interim government agreements would be put in place and a new constitution would be negotiated. Elections would be held to form a new government, after which the Peacekeeping Mission would be closed, once peace was achieved.

“However, and with all legitimacy, the question would arise: will it be a sustainable peace?”

Five years ago, the World Peace Foundation produced an important report entitled “African Politics, African Peace”, acting at the request of the AU Peace Architecture for the foundation to reflect on the question of the future of the missions. of peace in Africa.

Among other things, the report said:

“It is essential to centralize the ‘primacy of the politician’ within all AU responses” and insisted on “the leading role of politics in the design and implementation of peace operations.”

He went on to say: “Preventive action to prevent political crises and armed conflicts is the most essential task of African peacekeeping missions. This requires exceptional access to the highest level of decision-makers, along with credibility and discretion. ”

In addition, the report said it agrees with the “2015 United Nations High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO)” on:

a. “The ‘primacy of politics’ in conducting the design and implementation of peace operations; (i)

b. “A New and Stronger Emphasis on Conflict Prevention.”

Mbeki added that this insistence on “the primacy of politics” is to emphasize that conflict resolution should not be driven simply or primarily by security considerations.

The “primacy of politics” means that conflict resolution must address the vital issue of the root causes of the conflict and therefore not only seeks to silence weapons, however important, but to ensure sustainable peace.

This draws attention to exactly one central theme of this open Security Council debate: the issue of diversity.

“Certainly, my own personal experience, derived from participation in conflict resolution on our continent, confirms the centrality of failure in the proper management of diversity as one of the root causes of civil war and violent conflict.”

This experience concerns countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Ivory Coast and Sudan, he said.

Mbeki said he would even recommend a study of the 2004 Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone, which tells the truth that it was the result of the failure of diversity management that the country went experience the costly 11-year war that began in 1991.

Similarly, we see the result of the failure to manage diversity in the violent conflict, which has been and is still happening in Cameroon.

Mbeki highlighted another example, the ongoing major military conflict in Ethiopia.

“As you know, as the year of the African Union to silence weapons ended, this conflict erupted in the Tigray region.”

Mbeki said the challenge of properly managing Ethiopia’s highly pronounced diversity is at the heart of the violent conflict involving Tigray.

The indisputable truth is that successful management of this diversity cannot and will not be achieved through weapons of war, he said.

Mbeki lamented what many of the council members said before: Ethiopian belligerents should start a permanent ceasefire and engage each other in an inclusive national dialogue, precisely to agree on what they should do to achieve the goal. important and noble goal of the unit. in diversity.

“At the end of the Biafra war in Nigeria in 1970, victorious national leaders announced that they would pursue a policy of ‘no winner, no loser.’

This is exactly what Ethiopia needs, Mbeki said.

Mbeki said he would like to suggest that as it fulfills its obligation to maintain international peace and security, the UN Security Council should proceed from a position of acceptance of “the primacy of the politician.”

“Thus, their interventions would help produce sustainable peace and contribute to state-building by addressing challenges such as the proper management of diversity,” the former South African president said.

The conflict on the African continent remains complex, with the intersection of many factors such as the desire for power and control of resources from external states, ethnic conflict, genocide, xenophobia and corruption, according to the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.

These factors seriously hinder the economic and social development of the continent. The foundation states that it recognizes the great need for viable and sustainable approaches to conflict resolution and peacebuilding on the continent.

| African News Agency (ANA)

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