South Africa — The African Union (AU) yesterday commended Sadc states, which include Zimbabwe, for being one of the most peaceful areas on the continent and noted that it had managed to swiftly contain the conflict in Cabo Delgado in Mozambique.
The continental body said all African regions were haunted by political instability to some degree with West Africa topping the list but Southern African had remained peaceful save for the conflicts in Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique and in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic Congo, and these were caused by insurgents.
AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Ambassador Bankole Adeoye noted that Southern Africa had over the years, managed to hold peaceful elections while other regions such as West Africa had been haunted by unlawful change of Governments.
Recently, the AU summit comprising Heads of State and Governments suspended Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso from the AU over unconstitutional change of their governments.
Amb Adeoyo was in Midrand, South Africa addressing the Pan African Parliament committee on co-operation, international relations and conflict resolution.
PAP, led by Chief Charumbira, is holding committee meetings to brainstorm thematic issues that will be tabled before full plenary later in the year.
“Southern Africa used to be the most stable region until Cabo Delgado in Mozambique. The AU has continued to work with Sadc to support it. Over US$2 million has been raised through the European Union as a response mechanism to Sadc secretariat to provide support to deal with it so that we do not have another Sahel in Southern Africa.”
The Sahel conflict in West Africa started in Burkina Faso but is fast spreading in other nearby countries.
Sadc implemented a peace building initiative in Cabo Delgado aimed at enhancing social protection mechanism, law and order, capacity building measures mostly to the police and correctional services through skills development extended even to youths and women.
Funded by the EU under the early response mechanism, the peace building initiative was implemented after a Sadc summit on 23 June 2021 approved a standby force.
Zimbabwe sent military instructors to Mozambique as part of its contribution to contain the conflict.
Amb Adeoyo chronicled several hotspots in Africa saying the most critical was in north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo where Government soldiers are battling the M23 rebels.
He said the recently held AU summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, discussed the conflict where it was resolved that there be more engagement between warring parties with particular focus on the peace framework that they had signed in recent years.
“The most important threat in the region is the eastern DRC. The last AU summit noted the need on the revitalisation of peace and security framework signed so that all the parties in the eastern DRC will be engaged. We are using all our resources, human financial to support peace in the DRC, so conflict resolution is number one priority in the AU,” said Amb Adeoyo.
North Africa still had political challenges with the situation in Libya still dire and as the AU they were pursuing national reconciliation.
He noted that political unrest in other continents had a bearing in Africa with the Ukraine-Russia conflict having already spawned a food crisis and fertilisers shortage.
A Member of Parliament from Botswana, Simon Moabi, said it was high time Africa come up with solutions to end challenges facing the continent.
Some of the problems entailed the way western countries treated Africa with the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe being one example.
“We need to end problems in Africa, like sanctions on Zimbabwe have to end,” he said.
Ugandan MP Mr Felex Ogong said there was need for structured engagement with the AU to discuss challenges facing the continent.
The PAP meetings will be running last week and this week and will discuss several issues affecting Africa.
They include climate change, migration, drug abuse, human trafficking, peace and security among other issues.