July 2015. Americas 44th President Barrack Obama sets out on a journey to an African country that happens to be his fathers land of origin. This is against a milieu of reports of terror upon terror attacks in the country. While the country has indeed faced a string of well-calculated atrocities by the Somali-based Al-Shabaab militant group (Westgate Mall attack, Mpeketoni, Garissa University), most of the Kenyan population does not take it lightly to be viewed in that light. Many people have died, but still they say it is not enough to admit that the state is hardly grappling with the Somali Al-Shabaab militant question.
It is time for world news to describe the most expensive, trip on earth, and they say; the president is set to visit the hotbed of terror! Despite how appropriate it might have seemed to settle for that very phrase, this apt description by world renowned news channel sends Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) raging with fury; a fury that forces Tony Maddox, CNN executive vice president and managing director to fly into the country and personally deliver his basket of apologies to the Kenyan president to hopefully appease the raging populace. It is not just because the most-powerful president has his roots in the country and happens to be coming home at last, but its the way insecurity and strife impacts on the larger African continent enough for one to want to be associated with everything else but it.
Much as Kenyans on Twitter might venomously lush out at the CNN, it does little to conceal the underlying fact that indeed, Africa like any other continent is painfully striving to recover and avert past, present and unforeseen yet highly anticipated terror scourges.
Aside from intercontinental intervention, Grants and Aids, regional organizations in Africa are better placed in trying to find the African solution to African problems for example the African Union, the Common Market for East and South Africa, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, the East African Community the Economic Community of West Africa States.
A majority of African powers have often felt an infringement upon their sovereignty when African leaders like Charles Taylor have had to answer to courts like the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. Leaders like Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, Zimbabwes Robert Mugabi and Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta of Kenya have openly expressed contempt against the court, arguing that it was how the former colonies in the person of the world super powers, sought to reserve control of the African continent using sanction threats as a bait. They claim it is the bait that specifically targets African leaders that come from the ways of their interests. The Kenyan president used his charges at the International Court as a champion against colonial imperialism, to get himself elected and has actively been lobbying other member states to pull out of the Rome statute pointing to the African Union Court of Justice as a viable solution. Much as Africa might be among the only surviving continents that have eternal rulers like Robert Mugabe and others who seek to follow closely in his footsteps like Pierre Nkurunzunza and Paul Kagame, they still argue that the regional international organisations should not meddle with their affairs even when issues of human right are called into question. Ironically, though, the same polity will humbly be seeking world-Aid to implement their draconian doctrines because of political malfunction back in their countries. Therefore, they would rather look to the Far East because China does not dictate over their kind of leadership.
African regional organizations are bound to be more affected in terms of security if they do not intervene. This is obviously because of the geographical position of their infrastructure. These African organizations also possess a wealth of knowledge concerning the local terrain and dynamics of politics around the continent. They understand the challenges likely to be faced when selling the concept to national governments and other regional organizations.
The incredulity that portrays the Souths acuity of R2P was largely instigated by the method in which it was introduced; the manner from the top going to the bottom. The human security concept is not as good a framework, analytically speaking, for intellectualizing R2P. A better framework comprises, the freedom from fear and the freedom from want. What this means is however not so clear in reality.
How does the European Union compare to the African Union in terms of their approaches to integration? I beg to differ with the concept of the United States of Africa as proposed by former Libyan dictator Gadhafi, and here is why. The continent is marred by autocracies, failed state, and pseudo-democracies. This contrasts very sharply from the caliber of democracies that comprise the European Union. I understand though that the African Union is an unprecedented experiment that no doubt has made tremendous progress in the peace and security realm. It however largely remains an elite project, lacking broad participation. I draw my observation from some AU institutions including the AU assembley, the AU Commission, and the pan-African parliament.
It is worth noting that many armed conflicts in the 21st century are carried out in Africa, in part if not holistically. Talk to the al-Shabaab militants in east Africa, the Boko Haram in West Africa, the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda, the political unrest in the Central African Republic (CAR), the 2008 post-election violence in Kenya. I understand though the significant reduction in the number of armed conflicts in the region. Poverty and underdevelopment are the chief underlying factors in the prevalence of armed conflicts in the region. Illiteracy and unemployment make the lure survive enticing as young boys are easily drawn to armed conflict as a way to support their families back at home. Consider countries like Chad, the Congo, Zimbabwe, and Somalia. Corruption in Zimbabwe has watered down the currency of the country, raising the level of inflation, subsequently cutting down jobs leaving people barely surviving on below a dollar a day.
There is a remarkably positive contribution by African leaders towards fostering security and peace through peace making and initiatives of peacekeeping. This is shown by the work of such institutions as the evolving AU Standby Force, the AU Security and Peace Council and the AU panel of the wise. However, Zimbabwe, Burundi, Rwanda, and Kenya are examples of cases where institutions for peace in Africa were not as raucous and forthcoming in supporting democracy during a conflict-galloped election. This was evidenced by the blood that was shed during the Post-Election Violence in Kenya (2008) where thousands of lives were lost, thousands more families displaced only to send six suspects to the International Criminal Court right at the nose of the African Union. This is where an entire polity is forced to make a choice between peace and individuals ambitions of eternal control.
There is a demand for Security Sector Reform (SSR). There needs to be a shift from the idea of state-centered security to human-centered security that includes environmental, political, and economic security of all people. Security sector reform tends to drift towards poverty reduction, civil-military relations, good governance, and increased confidence in state security institutions.
The allure of the African continents natural resources has made it a darling of the Middle East, the West, and the Far East. Africas rich population is also a major market for western imports. This has subsequently led to renewed interests and support for the continents peace and security the world over.
A couple multi-lateral and mutual supports have been rendered to APSA. This includes the European Unions increased support of security initiatives through nation states and regional organizations. There are some key initiatives that have been launched by Africans themselves and also through partnerships with donors.
The inter-Government authority on development is inarguably one of the weakest links in the architecture of African peace and security. This is one of the regional bodies that are least deliberated. Considering Sudans strident antagonism to matters of intrusion with state sovereignty, it is quite to site the country as a major obstacle towards IGADs embracing of R2P. R2P is broad, multi-dimensional, all-encompassing and can be used and construed in various ways. Despite their lacking any unequivocal mention of R2P in any IGAD documents, there has essentially been an attempt to affirm R2P principles by the IGAD due to resolute activism by civil society at the horn of Africa.
Africa greatly benefits from the UN-AU peacekeeping cooperation. The conversion of the AU mission in Burundi to the United Nations Mission in Burundi (ONUB) greatly benefited peace in the country. This was deployed as a first among the cases of peacekeeping. It came quite timely, just when global political will towards Africa was hard to find. African peacekeeping missions have indeed played a pivotal role in setting the tone and context for UN intervention and involvement.
Though relatively underfunded, AMIB is a model demonstration of Africas readiness to conduct peacekeeping in the event of the United Nations unwillingness. In May 2004, AMIB was replaced by ONUB in the peace keeping mission in Burundi, a move that was very successful in terms of coordination and delivery in the collaboration between the two organizations. Though success in peace keeping missions is very onerous, it is yet very possible. Indicators of this success would evidently be the attainment of sustainable stability, facilitation of the peace process and maintenance of security. How to transform violence into peace and to enable of post-conflict reconstruction are also other viable indicators.
Integrated peace processes can surely bring about more far-reaching consequences out of the various vantage points and varying approaches and advantages that each player pulls to the center of the process. The success of this can be shown in the partnership that between the UN, the AU and the South African facilitation team as it were during the peace process in Burundi. South Africa contributed enormously towards the disarmament process, demobilization, and reintegration activities. Transformations have been recorded in Burundi since the involvement of the United Nations. Peace has been won albeit fragile.
Normally, threats to peace and security emerge when there are populations disaffected in a country that have access to small arms. Therefore, there comes the need for proper disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation, and reintegration (DDRR).
A close look at the DDRR process in Liberia in the period between April 1996 and December 2003 shows us that although it faced challenges of funding and coordination, it has managed to bring comparative peace to Liberia. A prior DDRR exercise was largely a failure as shown by the resurgence of war between pro-Charles Taylor and pro-Prince Johnson forces. The latter process also succeeded because the UN, civil society, and the Liberian government took measures to address challenges in the Taylor-Johnson exercise. The DDRR processes have however not been able to escape without politicization and a particular lack of ownership. This has normally arisen from the desire to appease particular factions.
There is the North-Sudan South-Sudan conflict and the North-Sudan Darfur conflict. The Darfur conflict is purely void of ethnic instigation and cannot therefore be referred to as state-sponsored-genocide. The war in Darfur represents a co...
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