21 December 2013

Africa: CAR Crisis Could Define the New Africa


At last Africa is waking up and taking matters in its own hands.

The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) could be the defining moment when the continent ceases crossing its arms as foreigners put its house in order.

The crisis in Mali sharply exposed Africa's weakness; shortcomings in taking decisions and waiting until matters go out of hand. It was humiliating to see Mali's neighbours only entering the fray riding on the back of France as extremists overran three quarters of the country.

The CAR operation should mark the beginning of new robust responses from the African Union, which, for the last 50 years, played the role of a bystander as member countries were set on fire.

The lame excuse has always been that it could not intervene in the "internal affairs" of a member state, but as history has shown, chaos in one country tends to spill over to its neighbours.

Rwanda's invitation to participate in the peace keeping mission in CAR is an indication of the high esteem with which it is regarded in peace keeping circles, but then, Rwanda understands too well the price of the international community's inaction.

The Rwandan contingent goes with a luggage full of experience it will share with other participants, and hopefully, help build stronger African ties and cooperation.

The bold step Africa has taken should not be a one mission affair, but a new chapter in taking its rightful place in world affairs.

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