25 August 2017

Africa: Former Leaders Blame Endless Conflicts in Africa On Egotism

Photo: Deogratias Mushi/Daily News
Former presidents of various African countries attend the African Leadership Forum 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. From left are Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania), Thabo Mbeki (South Africa), Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania), Haan Mohamed (Somalia), Mohamed Marzouki (Tunisia) and Chief Justice of Uganda, Bart Katureebe. (Photo by Deogratias Mushi)

Johannesburg — Selfishness is an outdated attitude that all African leaders should get rid of and respect their countries' constitutions on term limits, former President Benjamin Mkapa has said.

Addressing reporters ahead of the official opening of the African Leadership Forum 2017 here yesterday, Mr Mkapa said regional bodies -- the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) have a role to play in seeking amicable solutions in areas of conflicts.

"We need readiness to take measures. We also need brave African leaders to address issues of marginalised democracies that subject Africans to deaths and turmoil. Leaders should consult different cadres before coming to a certain decision," he said.

Mr Mkapa warned that unless African leaders speak with one voice and take bold decisions to solve conflicts in countries like South Sudan and Libya, instability would continue affecting the continent, sometimes creating rooms to loot resources from the affected countries.

The former president said some conflicts have remained unsolved for years due to African leaders being disorganised and lacking coordination among themselves. Former President Jakaya Kikwete urged the AU to boldly continue addressing the Libyan conflicts, which have so far claimed many lives.

Nigerian former leader Olusegun Obasanjo said that unless African leaders took the bull by its horns, more conflicts might continue emerging in the continent, citing efforts by African leaders to contain Charles Taylor in Liberia for reference.

His argument was supported by former President of Tunisia Mohamed Marzouki who insisted that countries facing conflict in Africa should always resolve to hold national dialogue meetings, which bring together all cadres, including the opposition and other parties to the conflicts.

"If convened before eruption of catastrophes, national dialogues put conflicting parties at mutual understanding. The meetings should not wait for issues to get out of control," he warned.

Namibia's Deputy Prime Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah remained optimistic that Africa was leading towards the direct direction, when former leaders meet and commend ways of creating peace and stability in Africa.

She insisted on the AU to work on the sources of conflicts in search of permanent solutions to problems facing Africa, the view that was supported by Professor Funmi Olonisakin, the Director of the African Leadership Centre, King's College London, saying that regional cooperation was vital in bringing about implementable democratic process.

The African Leadership Forum has brought together former Heads of State as well as leaders from all sectors across Africa to discuss pressing issues affecting Africa's sustainable development.

The African Leadership Forum 2017 aims at building on three previously successful dialogues convened by President Mkapa. The meetings focused on Africa's transformation, integration in Africa and African business.

Mr Mkapa and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki co-chair this year's forum. The dialogue focuses on the complex dynamics that have caused continuous conflicts and deliberate on how to practically and realistically navigate through them for lasting peace.

According to the Uongozi Institute, Peace and security in Africa is of great concern not only because of the fatal consequences that result from its absence but because much of Africa shall continue to be very poor without sustained peace and security.

Further, to achieve the goals of effective integration, unity and sustainable development within and amongst African nations, it is fundamental that there is peace and security.

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