AFRICAN UNION AND THE PEACE PROCESS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
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The research will trace the evolution of the African Union as a successor to the Organization of African Unity in terms of its mandate for conflict prevention, peacekeeping, peacemaking and peace building. I will briefly touch upon the origin of the organisation, its role and mandate on the African continent in ensuring peace, security and human rights through is organ the Peace and Security Council and particularly its efforts in Central Africa Republic. The African Union has sought to respond to the many violent conflicts on the continent with African solutions to African problems through the establishment of the African Union Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and its components. More than a decade however, the African continent remains punctuated by violent conflicts, in, for example, Central Africa, Libya, the Lake Chad Basin region and the Sahel region. This work will assess the African Union peace and security architecture, its strength and challenges using the Central African region as analysis and offers several recommendations such as a coherent and mutually reinforcing cooperation between the African Union and regional organizations in Central Africa on regional peace and security
Like many regions, Africa also had a Pan-African organization created in 1963, thanks to the unflinching commitment of some first generation post-colonial leaders. The ‘federalist school’, as they are sometimes called, represented by figures like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana essentially wanted a big bang transformation of the continent’s abundant resources. It was also grounded in the belief that such unity was necessary to end the persistence of neocolonial linkages with the former colonial masters. Kwame Nkrumah and Chief Albert Luthuli of South Africa intended to create something like the United States of Africa, a point advocated for by the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, with a continental presidency and parliament and a common African military ‘High Command’. However, the time was not ripe for Pan-Africanism and what emerged was a much-diluted OAU on May 25 1963, the 32 African states that had achieved independence at that time agreed to establish the
Organization of African Unity (OAU). The OAU operated on the basis of its Charter(OAUCharter) and the 1 991 Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community (known as the Abuja Treaty) .The OAU’s main objectives, as set out in the OAU Charter, were to promote the unity and solidarity of African states, coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa, safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States, rid the continent of colonization and apartheid, promote international cooperation within the United Nations framework, and harmonize members’ political, diplomatic, economic, educational, cultural, health, welfare, scientific, technical and defense policies. Good background information but what is your authority?
The OAU Charter, known for its emphasis on decolonization, adhered strictly to the principle of sovereignty of member states and non-interference in their internal affairs.
This had weakened the organization’s ability to intervene timely to prevent and manage conflicts, especially those of an internal nature. The record of the OAU was not impressive in the field of directly security related activities and the organization was more involved in setting norms and standards that it was incapable of enforcing. They were not very
I Møller, Bjorn. 2009. The African union as security actor: African solutions to A frican problems, Working Paper no. 57. London: LSE Development Studies Institute.
successful ones lack of finance, absence of clear mandates and logistical shortcomings accounted for the failure. With its decolonization and anti -apartheid agenda becoming irrelevant by 1994 following the establishment of black majority rule in South Africa, it was widely felt that the organization was no longer structurally poised to take on the new challenges faced by the continent in the 1990s. The region had also a high degree of democratic deficit. The end of the Cold War and the failure of the international community to prevent the genocide perpetrated in Rwanda, where the United Nations troops abandoned the country, including letting thousands of trapped civilians face certain death at the hands of the Interahamwe militia. This failure sparked transformative changes in how African nations would envision their role and empower themselves to act in the name of collective security and address African problems primarily through their own efforts. Authority?
Through the 1990s, leaders debated the need to amend the OAU’s structures to reflect the challenges of a changing world. This shift in focus motivated the leaders to do away with the OAU principle of non-interference and adopt what has now come to be known as the principle of ‘non-indifference’. Effort made at addressing these struggles in the past, saw the formation of a continental group. In 1999, the OAU Heads of State and Government issued the Sirte Declaration calling for the establishment of a new African Union. The vision for the Union was to build on the OAU’s work by establishing a body that could accelerate the process of integration in Africa, support the empowerment of African states in the global economy and address the multifaceted social, economic and political problems facing the continent. Authority?
Further, there was also a greater realization that Africans themselves must search for solutions to the region’s problems, and that any assistance from outside should be so tailored as to uphold African Ownership. This idea was promoted vigorously by Thabo Mbeki. the former president of South Africa, through the project of African renaissance. In total, four summits were held in the lead up to the official launching of the African Union. the: Sirte Summit (1999), which adopted the Sirte Declaration calling for the establishment of the AU, Lomé Summit (2000), which adopted the AU Constitutive Act, Lusaka Summit (2001), which drew the road map for implementation of the AU, Durban Summit (2002), which launched the AU and convened its first Assembly of Heads of State and Government. Therefore, the African Union, is a geo-political entity almost covering the entirety of the African continent, with Morocco being the exception.
Before its demise, it was seen by many to have failed to provide Africa the needed political platform to chart the course of unity needed for continental development, “With varied reasons adduced for the failure among scholars, the erstwhile continental body is seen as a failure”, says Ajala. Others leaning on Ajala’s conclusion hold that the failure of the continental body, birth vices such as wars and poverty that became dominant across the continent. Its failure to effectively represent the interests of the common people on the continent leads to such conclusion. It did not stand for peace, unity and people centered development as wars and poverty became dominant across continent and as such, the O.A.U was seen an old boys’ club where the so called leaders met annually to showcase their illgotten wealth and rival each other for the control of African continental political body . Their main focus seemed to be protecting each other, no matter the circumstances in line with the so-called ‘principle of state sovereignty’  . However, while the footprint of the OAU is still strong, the AU Constitutive Act and protocols established a significant number of new structures, both at the level of major organs and through a range of new technical and subsidiary committees. Many of these have evolved since 2002 and some are still under development. By the time of the AU’s creation in 2002 twenty-one (21) more members had joined gradually, reaching a total of 53.
No other regional organization has the peace matrix high on its agenda as the A U. While most other Regional organizations have emerged after eliminating the possibility of war or after creating, in some Cases, ‘security communities’ 7, the AU itself is borne out of the need for peace and security, especially human security, as a necessary pre condition för addressing the development related problems of the continent.
The Constitutive Act of the African Union sets out the codified framework under which the African Unionis to conduct itself.The Union has established a continent wide peace and security architecture through its Peace and Security Council which is to ensure conflict prevention and management and the AU has made some progress in peacemaking both through mediation and preventive Diplomacy and through military interventions For example, African mediation, led by Kenya under the auspices of Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), resulted in the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan in 2005, and the AU mission in Darfur, the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS).By reacting to the crisis in Darfur, the PSC enhanced the African response to conflicts in the continent.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
The Central African Republic (CAR) is ranked fifteen (15) most violent country in the world according to the January 2015 Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED) with over 2000 recorded events of political violence between January 1997 and September 2014. According to a survey by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project carried out in January 2015, violence against civilians a significant characteristic of the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) far exceeds the African Continental average of 35%, and is higher than other African states experiencing ongoing civil conflict surpassing even that of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Also, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) since 2008 has been operating in Central Africa and LRA attacks on rural communities have displaced hundreds of thousands of people in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Crisis in the Central African Republic is having a huge impact on regional stability and if not adequately resolved can undermine stability in Central Africa states like Burundi and Rwanda with limited capacity to respond to conflict. To date, influx of refugees from the Central African Republic and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is weighing on scarce local resources while cross border trade has been hindered by increasing insecurity.
- 1 General Objective
To examine the role of the AU in response to the conflict situation in Central Africa Republic.
1.3.2 Specific Objectives
- a) To raise awareness on peace, security and human rights issues in Central Africa Republic.
- The study will seek to establish human rights promotion in Central Africa Republic by the African Union.
- To determine the challenges experienced by the AU in its response to the situation in Central Africa Republic.
- To establish and provide a way forward for redressing these challenges.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the role of the AU in responding to the conflict situation in Central Africa Republic?
- What challenges has the AU experienced in its response to the situation in South Sudan?
- What mechanisms can the AU explore to respond effectively to peace, security and respect for human rights in Central Africa Republic and other African states plagued by the same challenges