Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pan African Peace

Continental peace in Africa has been a dream for centuries. To be fair not many continents experience overall peace. In truth not many countries experience peace either. However the hope for peace in Africa has been a goal of international relations for centuries. As with many such issues, the complexity of such a goal can paralyse the mind. Peace in Africa has many hurdles and the most important are the leaders. Take for example Burundi. Here is a country that could have peace if one person would set his own desires aside. The Burundi scenario plays out in many countries and is the most crucial component of continued chaos. The personal agendas of political or military leaders have subverted peaceful transitions. Furthermore, many African countries must deal with neighbouring conflicts as well. For example Libyan collapse filtered into several countries. Also the chaos in Yemen will filter into both Sudans, Somalia and other East African countries. These international factors only complicate already complex situations. There are various efforts/organizations working to bring stability to these conflicts. The largest of these are the United Nations, African Union, regional groups and international organizations. Each of these groups and organizations are stretched to the limit as each country need tremendous resources. However the largest resource in need cost no money and that resource is peace. All too often we endure individuals who fight to hold on to power for no good reason and Burundi is an example of this. In other cases the failure comes from a lack of vision to prepare others for the transition of power. These factors cost the least money and give the best results. What stands in the way is the ego of leaders who want to build a legacy. In truth the legacy quickly turns into chaos and the person is just another hurdle to peace. The classic African example is Zimbabwe and Libya. Each of those countries had great chances of peace yet the leaders failed to prepare for that reality. Egypt is in the middle of such a situation. With Egypt, the neighbouring countries have a major impact. Included is the influx of Islamic State across the Middle East and Northern Africa, this group will have its impact as well. Other groups have been causing havoc in many African states such as Al Qeada, Boko Haram, and Lords Resistance Army are the most notable examples. For a continent that is well known for its warlords, poor peace transitions and bad government, ironically the United Nations had two African born Secretary-Generals. Sadly, there are leaders that could bring peace to many countries. The problem rest with the violence that creates enough chaos to make organizing peaceful transition almost impossible. The few leaders that keep the chaos ongoing are masters of spin and fear. Such leaders hold on to power by making enemies and telling lies. It is that last statement which is the crux of every conflict in the world. For a Pan African Peace to take hold there will need to be a few key countries to withstand a peaceful transition of power. There is no bigger player than the Democratic Republic of Congo. The size and resources of the DR Congo are elements which have great influence. If the DR Congo were to maintain a peaceful society, that would stabilize a vast territory on the African continent. The methods to bring peace are well known. The list of reasons why peace has not been achieved are the same as every other war. The number one reason is that leaders are not interested in peace.

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