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Shared Responsibility for African peace And Security

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Quality E-Books and Softwares with Master Resale Rights The Future of Immigration in the West ACHIEVERS ARE DREAMERS celestial church of christ pillarand the ground of truth--1tim,3-14-15 Adeyinka Makinde, author of Dick Tiger, interviewed on Global Talk Radio A superlative performance- our heroine on the world stage A day with Olusesan Ekisola pioneer GM, Raypower THE KALEIDOSCOPE OF PRINCE TONYE PRINCEWILL Ma sise lo, ma se wa isimi COOPERATING WITH COLONIAL COOPERATION. NA WA FOR YABA MARKET. Difference between Online Education VS. Traditional Education Divergent Perspectives on the Niger Delta Question Black Prime Minister Not In My Lifetime Declares UK First Black Female Parliamentarian, Diane Abbott Private Soldier Lectures Nigerian Commander-in-Chief UK Prime Minister speaks out on terrorism in Africa Addressing Nigeria's Economic Problems and the Islamist Terrorist Threat Obasanjo pls we need your attention. Lets Make Nigeria Great THE BAD EGGS OF THE NIGERIAN FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION RE: Obasanjo: Nigerians ll Decide My Successor we are one in christ-celestial member--LOVE- IS THE WORD AND WORSHIP IS THE WAY;- THE CYBER INVESTIGATOR PART 1 CHIEF AUDU OGBE IN RETROSPECT Interview Transcript of appearance on 'Garvey's Children' Boxing: Rousing the Nigerian Giant THE APATHY OF FREE MEN AND THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE THE NIGER-DELTA: A CRADLE OF VIOLENCE Interview Transcript of appearance on 'Just About Books' Remembering Rex Lawson THIRD TERM: THE COLOSSAL FAILURE OF A BAD IDEA; AN INVESTIGATION NEEDS TO BE CONDUCTED TO SEE WHO GOT WHAT AND WHY. THE NEXT GOVERNMENT HAS A FIDUCIARY DUTY TO CONDUCT AND INVESTIGATION INTO EFFORTS TO ABROGATE OUR CONSTITUTION; LET THE CHIP FALL WHEREEVER discuss the development of fishey in nigeral Tetuila thrills America CALL FOR GENDER EQUALITIES!!! GOD BLESS NNAMANI Beyond Third Term: The untold story... EMOTIONS AND LOVE AFFAIRS cry of help THE NEW AFRICAN ORDER - The times, they are a-changing We must Stop the Government The Iran Question and Nigeria DISCUSS IN DETAILS THE HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE IN NIGERIA FROM THE COLONIAL ERA TO THE PRESENT DAY, POINTING OUT CLEARLY ALL AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMMES. The worrisome Lagos-Ibadan traffic Hope for Niger Delta Conference on CURBING YOUTH RESTIVENESS IN THE NIGER DELTA Held on the 29th April 2006 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. 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Written by: Detroit, Michigan


By any standard, the last decade brought a new perspective to conflict resolution, mediation, peace - building, peace - keeping, peace-making, peace-enforcement and preventive diplomacy in Africa. Hitherto, and until very recently, the African Union's Commission on Mediation, Arbitration and Reconciliation, which is one of the principal organs of the Organization established to maintain and keep peace and security in the region was dormant in spite of the fact that its duties and functions were succinctly spelt out in the Organization's charter. The reason for its weakness as a trouble shooter was not far fetched. It is trite that a house cannot be stronger than its foundation. The principal body, the Assembly of Heads of States and Government, which was supposed to provide muscle for the Commission, was in itself, a toothless bulldog. It lacked political will and economic strength to perform its duties.


The Organization of African Unity as it was then called, was born into the cold war and it was not surprising that the cold war politics took its toll on its teething years. During that period, Africa was regarded as a very strategic pawn on the cold war chessboard. The communist East was bent on exploiting the decolonization process and the new wave of nationalism going on on the continent to its advantage while the capitalist West maintained that the decolonized countries of Africa must be ruled by people with anti-communist resume. Consequently, both blocs adopted cold war policies [political and diplomatic initiatives] to prop up dictators and installed puppet regimes in Africa. It was this same policy that led to the survival of apartheid regime in South Africa until the end of the cold war.


 The calamitous effect of this was the emergence of African leaders who had no political will of their own. These neo-colonial leaders, who unfortunately, were the founding fathers of Organization, turned it into a battleground for advancing the cause of their pay masters. The African civil society who had just gone through excruciating periods of colonialism had expected their "home made" leaders to use the platform of the Organization to articulate a new sense of leadership. But this was not to be.


 Meanwhile, as African leaders were busy fighting the cause of their ideological blocs in their cold war pattern of behavior, the continent was busy disintegrating and falling into unprecedented genocidal tribal conflicts. There were political instability everywhere as tribal wars, social conflicts and religious crises became the order of the day. In West Africa, Nigeria, a big, promising country just emerging from the yoke of Union Jack suffered a three- year civil war. The Nigerian civil war coincided with the turbulent years in the USA [1965-1970 which witnessed more than 500 uprisings in urban America] when black communities revolted in a struggle for liberation.


 In central Africa, the secession crises in Congo, another big country like Nigeria, was fueled by the active encouragement of Belgium and the cold complicity of America's Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] .The latter was highly suspected in the assassination of Patrick Lumumba, a foremost African nationalist and the first Prime Minister of Congo.


 In the horn of Africa, there were civil strives in Mozambique and Angola based on economic and political ideologies. In Angola, the National Union for the total Liberation of Angola [UNITA] was locked in a war of attrition with the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola [MPLA]. The Mozambique National Resistance [RENAMO] and the Mozambique Liberation Front [FRELIMO] each of whom fought along different economic ideologies spearheaded the ideological war of destabilization and social dislocation in Mozambique.


 In the North African country of Sudan, the cold war mongers [The super powers] capitalized on the ethnic and religious differences in the region thus creating a prolonged armed conflict in the country. There were wars in Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Rwanda, Burundi etc. There were conflicts in Zimbabwe, Uganda, and intervention in Lesotho. Few years ago, Niger gunned down her president, Ibrahim Bare Mainassarawa in a palace coup.


 Ethiopia and Somolia were not spared. In these two countries, local disputes, Social and class differences were exacerbated into national conflicts that lasted for years. The case of Ethiopia was indeed a pathetic one. This was a country that never experienced colonialism. It could be recalled that during the European colonization of Africa, the continent was partitioned and divided between Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal. At the Berlin conference of 1884, African countries then known as colonies were shared amongst the countries named above with the exception of Ethiopia, which was allowed to retain its sovereignty. And of course, Liberia also retained its sovereignty.


 As colonialism was gaining momentum in Africa and the colonialists were busy partitioning Africa, the USA was battling with what status to accord to the freed African slaves in America. Unable to resolve this vexed issue with expediency, the American Colonization Society by 1822 decided to return some of the freed slaves to Africa and resettled them in Liberia. Also in 1807, slavery was abolished in Britain. From then on, cargoes carrying new slaves were interdicted on the high seas and sent to Liberia to resettle. It was therefore, not politically expedient to place these freed slaves who were provided with a save haven in Liberia under new colonial overlords. The colonialists also used the place as a trading post. Unfortunately, the post-cold war Liberia itself was ravaged by a civil war, which was primarily caused by resentments against continued "Americo-Liberian oligarchy" by the native settlers.


 Apologists of the cold war politics have posited that cold war may have contributed to the dislocation of African social, economic and political structure, but it was not the primary cause. They argue that the fundamental causes of armed conflicts and social dislocation in Africa have been with the continent even before the advent of colonialism. They traced such historical reasons to include petty issues such as disputes over gracing field, hunting and fishing rights, religious rites and very serious matters like farm land disputes, expansion of territorial rights and political authority as well as ethnic and cultural differences.


 While the above reasons may not totally constitute historical fallacy, they forget the fact that every society out of absolute obscurantism will discover its mission. There is no society without a history of conflict. But how a people survive civil strive and social transformation depends on a number of factors both within and without. If Africa had been left alone in her glory and beauty, if the continent had not been tampered with through slavery, colonialism and cold war politics, she would have evolved her own system of social transformation and economic development.


 More and worse, Africa's economic growth and social development have been in bad shape for many years. The economies of many countries on the continent can not respond to internal needs of the people thus leading to mass poverty and social disorder. The resources are scarce and the scarcer the resources, the greater the propensity for conflict. Where there is poverty, conflict is imminent.


The fragmentation of Africa has also been compounded by an unimaginable decline in International aid to the region. By 1997, development aid to Africa had fallen to 0.22 percent of gross national product, a situation that was considered as the lowest ever. The flow of private investment is very insignificant accounting only for about 10 per cent of liquid capital flow into Africa. This definitely, is a threat to African growth, development, peace and security.


 Today, Africa is exhausted by conflicts. It is the only region still grappling with war and political instability since the end of the cold war. The prolonged armed conflicts in the region have not only hindered African progress, this sordid and devastating state of peace and security has led to massive displacement of large number of people many of whom have fled their homelands.


According to a release by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees [UNIHR], as at 1997, there were 3.1 million persons in ten major refugee groups who fled to eight major asylum countries. Writing in Newsweek of April 19, 1999, William Shawcross described refugees as "sands scattered by hostile political winds". He calls them the fourth world - "a people homeless, stateless and often hopeless".


 Armed conflicts in Africa affect not only the warring Nations but also impact others that are not at war. In a report produced by the U.S Committee For Refugees, entitled, World Refugee Survey, 1997, pp56-109, the Committee states that in numerous cases, some African countries both receive and produce refugees. They play a dual role of receiving refugee populations from neighboring countries while circumstances in their own countries also force their own people to either flee to another country for safety or be permanently displaced in their countries.


 In agreement with the U.S Committee for Refugees on the effects of war in Africa is the International Financial Corporation [IFC]. During a visit to South Africa, the Executive vice-president of IFC, Mr Peter Woicke expressed the IFC's frustration about the situations in the warring countries of Africa. According to him, to do a project in many parts of the continent today would be impossible. He stated that " there is a definite change in the negative perceptions of Africa but the euphoria has been hampered by conflict situations".


 Reinforcing the IFC's observation, a washington based organization, Africa Policy Information Center [APIC] in its 1999 outlook says that "escalated conflicts threaten not only to undermine the image of African renaissance but also to siphon off resources and energies from efforts toward political and economic progress". On the effects of armed conflict on family life, economic activity and certainty about the future, the National Summit on Africa [NSA] laments that " without protection, there is no security; where armed conflict is the norm, there is no peace".


 At a meeting held in December 1998 at the instance of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development [OECD], the delegates noted that to end violence, consolidate peace and lay the bases for sustainable development in Africa; the security situation of the continent has to be improved. They rightly observed that crisis intervention, development aids and grants should not be the only response to African problems, particularly, in countries that have been ravaged by armed conflicts often caused by mafia-like groups who make fortune causing and fighting wars in Africa. They are the marketers and sellers of endless violence in Africa.


 Those who think that war business is not flourishing in Africa do not actually know the activities of the marketers of violence- the mercenaries. The simple dictionary meaning of mercenary is "one who serves merely for wages; especially, a soldier who serves in a foreign army for pay or gain" [italics mine].


Worried by the activities of mercenaries who fuel armed conflicts in Africa, the Development Aid Committee [DAC] and the International Monetary Fund [IMF] made an urgent call three years ago for a system which would stop the operations of those companies or organizations that encourage armed conflicts in Africa and depend on its continuity for their livelihood.


 Indeed, there are very many companies and organizations that live on conflicts in Africa. There are The Military Professional Resources Incorporated [MPRI], The Sandline International [SI] and The Executive Outcomes [EO]. There are many more. These organizations, many of which are staffed by high ranking retired military officers and former elite troops specialize in private military operations around the world.


 Some of them can provide up to 3000 men for a single operation that their services are often customized to meet their clients' specific demands. A good number of them, such as MPRI for instance, even enjoy government patronage. The MPRI represented the USA in 1997 in an assistance program for training an African crisis-response force. They provide various services to their clients ranging from security guards, surveillance of oil fields to protection of oil installations. They also provide more complex services such as interfering directly in armed conflicts. One significant thing about the activities of these organizations is that they can fight at different times on either side, monetary profit being their main motive. They only work for the highest bidder. Many of them are involved in almost all the armed conflicts going on in Africa. They were in Mozambique, Angola, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leon and Sudan.


 Not only are they participating in these conflicts, they are busy making fortunes trafficking in arms including long and medium range weapons of war. These include revolvers, rifles, rocket launchers, mortals, sub-machine guns, A-K47 assault rifles and other individual weapons that are very easy to carry with little maintenance efforts. Some of these individual weapons have calibers of less than 100mm. This is why we have a lot of kid-soldiers carrying from small to medium caliber weapons in most of these conflicts.


 There are underground markets for the sale of these weapons everywhere in Africa. In South Africa alone, there are approximately 8.5 million small arms in circulation while a top official at the United Nations Institute of Disarmament Research [UNIDIR] puts the number of small arms circulating in West Africa at more than 7 million.


 


Ali Mazrui, a prominent African scholar, has suggested in his proposed Pax Africana that African States must accept the principal responsibility of assuring peace and stability in the region. In his article published in CODESRIA bulletin, November 1997, Mazrui argues that "Pax Africana is the continental face of..self determination..provided the motives are in tune with Africa's ultimate well-being" [italics mine].


 


This statement is a truism considering the various efforts currently being made by sub- regional groups in terms of preventive action, troop support and direct military intervention to enforce peace and stop armed conflict in the continent. The OAU and sub-regional organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS], the South African Development Community [SADC], the Inter-governmental Authority on Development [IGAD] are taking more assertive initiatives now than they had been in the past. Through them, most of these armed conflicts have being resolved.


 However, beyond the issue of Africans resolving their problems internally is the question of shared responsibility. The assistance of the UN and the International community in the prevention of conflict in Africa is germane to the quest for peace and security in the region. This is a time for reconstruction. In line with this, the OAU has established a Central Mechanism for Conflict Prevention and Resolution [CMCPR]. Regrettably, this effort can not unilaterally assure peace and security in Africa without the active support of the UN, European Union [EU], the international financial institutions and the entire International community.


As noted earlier, one of the reasons for instability in Africa is the deepening economic crisis. This has caused a lot of political division leading to increased external involvement in African disputes. And since African states have little financial base, it is most certain that good efforts such as the CMPMR may be ineffective. The efficacy of CMPMR is contingent on the availability of funds to run its programs.


Africa requires complimentary support in her quest for peace and security in the region. This could be in form of financial and logistic support for her peace operations and direct assistance in form of training and hardware.


To start with, the UN should ensure that all treaties and conventions banning support for warring groups that help to prolong armed conflicts are signed by all the member-states. It could be recalled that in the early 90s, the UN introduced a convention that sought to ban the recruiting, financing and training of mercenaries. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, the convention is yet to take effect as only few countries have so far ratified it.


Times are hard in Africa now, as mercenaries are busy sucking the blood of victims of genocide and armed conflict. The UN is therefore, enjoined to re-address the issue of the ratification of the anti-mercenary treaty by member-states. Ratifying the treaty is a very important process. It will among others, help to prevent recurrent armed conflicts in Africa. This is what Africa needs rather than sending emergency aids to refugees or responding after the fact. Relieve aids can never be a substitute for political, economic and social stability, peace and security.


The EU should also use its influence on its members by urging them to stop the proliferation of arms in Africa. This also includes Private Corporations who sell arms and ammunitions to local combatants in Africa .The organization together with the USA, should also introduce stiff measures that will make private arms sale in Africa including the operations of the mercenaries unattractive and even punishable by law. Happily enough, the EU has submitted a set of criteria for limiting and exporting arms to its members.


Emma Bonino, EU Commissioner for human rights and humanitarian operations in an interview once stated that the EU is drawing up military equipment whose export is to be monitored. She added further that countries that produced small arms have been requested to take stricter measures with regard to brand names in order to make it easier to trace the weapons. This effort is commendable but it should not just end there. It must be strictly enforced if the EU is truly serious about "efforts to prevent the EU from eternally rebuilding schools and dispensaries in Africa".


In sum, it should be noted that African states are making self-generated efforts toward the peaceful resolution of long-standing conflicts in the region. A good number of initiatives for preventive action, peace-enforcement and peace-building efforts are currently in place and are thriving. What is critically needed now is a shared responsibility that will consolidate and sustain the progress so far made. This is where the UN, EU, financial aid organizations and the International community come in. And, I hope they will not fail Africa.


 


Kayode Oladele is an International Human Rights Law Attorney based in Detroit,


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