THE VIABILITY OF AFRICAN SOLUTIONS TO AFRICAN PROBLEMS IN PEACE AND SECURITY
Africa’s history is of a struggle for self-determination; this quest for self determination has gone through different phases and has also taken different forms. In the aftermath of the end of the Cold War and the onset of a multi-polar world order in the 21st century, this struggle is best expressed in Africa’s quest for Pax-Africana, a peace ‘that is protected and maintained by Africa herself’. African Solutions to African Problems (AfSol) is a notion that bestows Africa the leading role in defining its problems and providing solutions as well. This research upholds the notion of AfSol as an extension of the ideas of Pan Africanism and African Nationalism; and hence with strong historical roots. The research investigated the viability of African Solutions to African Problems in the security realm with AU as an institutional mechanism by taking the 2011 Libyan crisis and the peacekeeping mission deployed in Somalia (AMISOM) since 2007 as case studies. The study explores the practical difficulties the Union has had in providing an African centered solution to the Libyan crisis at the initial levels of the conflict and with the Somalia case study the study examines the kind of difficulties the Union has faced with AMISOM by investigating how much of the mission’s agenda are home grown as it is funded by foreign donors. The study followed a qualitative approach. The data used in the research is a combination of data gathered through primary and secondary sources.
The AU is hampered by its own institutional and financial weaknesses in upholding AfSol in the peace and security realm and the study has pointed out unwarranted external intervention in the internal affairs of African states as a difficulty that is external to the Union’s genuine efforts in proving African centered solutions in conflict resolution. The Libyan crisis of 2011 is one where the Union has come up with a roadmap that has foreseen the challenges that any solution but political would be a failure as its genuine efforts were sidelined because of big power interest in Libya. This showed a case where the Union was not even allowed to take ownership of a crisis in providing African centered solutions in the continent. On the other hand AMISOM, hailed as a success story by some, is a case in point where even when some kind of African ownership is exercised yet African Solutions fall short as the mission is funded by external powers and they have a direct say on the kind of agenda being carried out by the mission. In conclusion the study hails the notion of African Solutions to African Problems as one with a great potential for providing a sustainable and lasting solutions to the peace and security challenges that hamper the development of the continent. The notion is still a work in progress but it shouldn’t be regarded as a ‘rhetoric’ as upon the institutional and financial strength of the AU; it’s one that could be achieved.
Africa is a conflict torn continent and the African Union (AU), primarily a peace and security actor, has been tasked with bringing peace and security to the continent. The organization initially came into being with a new mandate to manage conflict in the continent, for its predecessor the Organization of African Unity (OAU) failed to take matters on its own mainly because of its non-intervention principle. Non-indifference is the new approach that the AU has adopted. The Rwandan genocide of 1994 has been one of the factors that triggered in the transformation of the OAU to the AU with a quest to finding African Solutions to African Problems. Professor Amadou Sessay states that the establishment of the Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) by the AU shows the emphasis the organization is laying on local conflict prevention and management, and the ownership of processes as reflected in the Constitutive Act.1
Africa has been a victim of foreign intervention since the time of colonialism and even after more than 50 years of independence this intervention continues. Ferim Valery argues that for decades, African leaders and scholars alike have expressed concerns over foreign intervention in the internal affairs of African countries. They have decried humanitarian intervention as a neo-colonialist agenda propelled by self-interest.2 With the reality that compelled foreign intervention in the continent being one of self interest and not a real aspiration to help; Africans have felt the need for taking ownership of their own affairs. ‘African Solutions’ or ‘Try Africa First’ reflects the response of African leaders through their multilateral institutions – the OAU, and now the AU and RECs – to minimize as much as practicable, direct external powers involvement in African conflicts.