Silencing the guns in Africa can be achieved, Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra said on Sunday at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The Special Envoy of the African Union Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, was addressing the 33rd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union on the implementation of the Union flagship project on “silencing the guns” in 2020.
“Looking at the achievements made in promoting peace and security in the continent, in recent decades, particularly since 2004, with the operationalization of the AU Peace and Security Council, the noble objective of silencing the guns and ending wars in the continent is achievable”, Ambassador Lamamra said at an event attended by the newly elected Chair of the Union Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa.
Why the optimism?
Lamamra noted that from around 30 active conflicts in 2004, Africa is now addressing fewer conflicts than in the past. According to him, Africa has a robust blueprint for promoting peace, security and stability, as well as advancing good governance, respect for human and people’s rights and constitution.
That blueprint is the combination of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the African Governance Architecture (AGA). The Peace and Security Council has led and continues to effectively lead the implementation of the blueprint, of which the determining factor is the political will of Member States is very crucial given that the prevention and resolution of conflicts is done on national territories.
How to prevent conflicts in Africa?
He underlined that, while the respect for national sovereignty is paramount, this should not undermine the efforts to scale up conflict prevention and, if and when necessary, take collective action in the name of the principle of non-indifference as enshrined in the Constitutive Act.
“Cognizant of the fact that civil conflicts are triggered by series of disagreements, disparities within or between individuals, communities and factions, we are faced with the challenges of being more creative in conceptualizing and implementing innovative solutions to conflicts. In this perspective, our focus should primarily be to ensure preservation of national unity, functioning of state institutions and overall sovereignty of the people,” he said.
“In other words, lessons learnt underscore the point that convention-centric approaches combined with inclusive local processes is more likely to contribute positively to silencing the guns in the continent. This is obvious in case of conflicts instigated on the preservation of traditional social entities such as extended families, lineages, clans, ‘tribes’, religious brotherhoods and ethno-linguistic groups, etc”.
Lamamra said there was a need for a hybrid conflict management mechanism that will take into consideration traditional/indigenous methods of interventions in search for a balanced solution between the centers and the peripheries, in order to preserve national unity with due respect for diversities. The overall objective of the hybrid approach would be the preservation of national unity without infraction on the existing religious and linguistic factors.