22 May 2018

Africa: Tips for boosting Africa's peace... From ex-presidents Mkapa, Mbeki and Mohamud

Photo: UONGOZI Institute
Former presidents Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia.

Former presidents Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that APRM was an essential tool for ensuring good governance, strong national level governance and inclusiveness.

Speaking after a meeting held on Thursday to deliberate on the theme ‘Africa in the Global Peace and Security Architecture’, the former leaders said they would like to encourage the current leaders to promote that unique Africa-initiated instrument that undertakes periodic peer reviews of African countries to strengthen and improve political, social and economic governance.

The African Peer Review Mechanism is a mutually agreed instrument voluntarily acceded to by the member states of the African Union as a self-monitoring mechanism. It was founded in 2003.

The mandate of the APRM is to encourage conformity in regard to political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards among African countries and the objectives in socio-economic development within the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.

The former leaders also called on the current leaders to strengthen the continent’s institutions tasked with peace and security matters. They furthermore called for the strengthening of incountry frameworks for stakeholder engagement and consultation and ensuring inclusive national discourse.

The Thursday meeting was a follow-up to the African Leadership Forum 2017 in South Africa last August held under the theme “Peace and Security for an Integrated, United and Sustainable Africa.”

The 2017 meeting was attended by five other former African Heads of State - Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Bakili Muluzi (Malawi), Mohamed Marzouki (Tunisia), Jakaya Kikwete (Tanzania) and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia.

The meeting, also attended by over 100 key African leaders, experts and thinkers working on issues of peace and security, examined the complex dynamics that fuel conflicts on the continent and how Africa can practically navigate the dynamics to secure lasting peace.

Africa’s position in the global security design was highlighted as a topic that needed further discussion, which prompted the institute to organise the follow-up meeting.

The Thursday meeting was convened by former President Mkapa and focused on specific cases of conflict situations of Democratic Republic of Congo and the Federal Republic of Somalia as cases to provide practical lessons and the context for their recommendations.

However, there was no time to discuss new developments in Burundi which on the same day held a referendum to decide whether or not to extend President Pierre Nkurunziza’s stay in powerup to 2034.

They cited time limit was a reason for not discussing issues in Burundi whose growing tension in the build up to Thursday’s referendum led to fears that it could deepen ethnic conflicts and spark violence in the East African Community (EAC) member state.

“We decided to focus on a limited number of countries so as to look at them critically. Due to time constraints, we could not take more countries,” said former president Mbeki.

Former President Mkapa also confirmed that they did not discuss unfolding events in Burundi but added that he understood they were holding a referendum on Thursday and did not know about the results. “We did not discuss anything about Burundi and wouldn’t like to speak about that because I have not been permitted by my bosses,” he said.

“What I know is yesterday they were holding a referendum. I don’t know about the results yet,” he said. Burundi went to the polls on Thursday in a constitutional referendum which could extend President Pierre Nkurunziza’s rule to 2034.

There are concerns that the referendum would also roll back some key aspects of the Arusha Agreement, which paved the way for ending the country’s long and bloody civil war in 2005.

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