Mahama: Let’s prevent issues leading to conflicts

Africa must look beyond the deployment of troops, hardware and drone technology to address the challenges to peace, unity, stability and security on the continent, former President John Mahama has entreated.

“It is necessary for Africa and its institutions to rather find the source of the regional insecurity fire and extinguish the flames before they engulf the continent,” he cautioned. 

Former President Mahama indicated that Africa must consider the time-tested spirit of entrepreneurship so that she could fight the trade war rather than simply expend her energies trying to put out the extremist fires and behaving like a fire brigade, only reacting when is too late.

Presenting the State of Peace and Security in Africa 2021 report at the 10th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, the former president, who is the Chairperson of the Tana Forum Board, pointed out that Africa seemed unable to proactively prevented crises despite the availability of key institutions and mechanisms to pre-empt and resolve conflict. 

According to the report, Africa in 2021 witnessed a reversal of some of the democratic gains that were achieved in the 1990s and 2000, with the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government, contestation for state power, the regionalisation of violent conflict and return to authoritarian rule and the undermining of the rule of law, both of which are drivers of violent conflict.

The report also recommends that the Africa Union’s Commission for Political Affairs, Peace and Security develop committed, determined and dedicated programmes of work with the Africa Union Special Envoy for Youth and the African Youth Ambassadors to mobilise the continent’s youth to proactively work to prevent and resolve conflict as well as promote post-conflict reconstruction, peace-building and transitional justice.

Former President Mahama contended that the degree of cross-border interaction and exchange, and the deepening reach of globalisation, meant Africa now needed to frame her conflict situations as regional crises with national dimensions.

“Moreover, in 2021, limited economic growth, an immense youth bulge, and high levels of rural-urban conflict and forced migration have created conditions for extremism to spread into vulnerable countries and the Africa Union member states need to prevent the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of government by reacting much more swiftly to ensuing crisis, develop continental-based pharmaceutical industries to manufacture and distribute our own COVID-19 vaccines to African citizens,” he admionished.

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