Never doubt that a group of like minded individuals can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has
– Margaret Mead
As globalization becomes fully entrenched and world order seems to have shifted slightly, the African continent seems to be gaining more prominence in the scheme of things. Slowly but surely, the rest of the world is paying more attention and showing more respect to the continent which was once considered a dark one, plagued with conflicts, drought and famine with very little prospects.
Now, the African continent has become tremendously significant to global business and countries in the West are eager to partner the continent on an even footing. And the rest of the world is sitting up and taking notice. More countries in the West are willing to partner Africa in business and politics and there is a new scramble for the partitioning of Africa; only this time, the lines are blurred and African governments are insisting on being treated as partners rather than as pawns in the game of finance and politics between the South and the North. The African Union as an umbrella has really covered the interest of the continent for the leaders to speak with one voice on local and international issues.
One of the AU’s main objectives is to focus on “the promotion of peace, security and stability on the continent as a prerequisite for the implementation of the development and integration agenda of the Union.” A key organ of the AU, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) entered into force in December 2003, fifty-one (51) of the fifty four (54) Member States have signed the PSC Protocol, while forty-seven (47) have both signed and ratified it, signifying the need and importance of the PSC.
Peace, security and stability in each African nation are prerequisites to political, social and economic development. The AU’s increased interventionist role is a great stride towards achieving the grand vision of unity and solidarity. While these achievements within the AU are worth celebrating, the situation on the ground and the challenges ahead in securing peace and stability in many African states is huge.
African citizens in Mali, the DRC, the Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia, and lately Kenya to name a few have had to bear the enormous burden of forging lives amidst the threats to peace and stability that they continue to face. They continue to call out for intervention and a permanent end to these threats. With contemporary conflicts and insurgents attacks in Africa largely driven by economic motives and agendas which thrive under poor governance, countries need to believe in and practice good and democratic governance in order to ensure peace and stability.
In spite of these challenges, stories of resilience, innovation and ingenuity abound from these conflict-ridden areas. There’s a desire and a determination to alter the narrative, which deserves special attention and focus.
The nexus between good governance, peace and stability is important to understand both in theory and practice. Since theory guides practice and practice shapes theory, policy makers and practitioners must of necessity study the relationship between the above concepts and practices, and live the ideals of good governance if Africa as whole is to enjoy lasting peace, stability and development.
Governance issues in Africa are centered on the struggle for access to resources. At the national level, various groups political and military want to maintain power, regain it or capture it. Such groups believe or claim that they have better capacities to establish and practice democratic ideals including the control of the production process and distribution of scarce resources.
African leaders must strike a balance between security needs and social programmes. They must, through the AU, have a deliberate programme with attendant resources to facilitate networking with other organisations around the world that specialize in research on governance or/and those with experience of implementing successful governance activities, and not those who want to take our God given resources and give us arms in return to destroy ourselves and our precious continent.
– Collins Ajibola