The African continent could have its own strong army capable of being deployed in zones of conflicts if governments are willing to provide troops, Kenyan media reported last week.
Nairobi-based The Standard Digital said that some governments in countries where the rule of law and democracy were a challenge were reluctant to endorse the proposal. Africa has so far relied on the West to help solve its problems – financially, diplomatically and militarily – a trend many observers believe painted a picture of an ‘irresponsible’ and ‘incompetent’ father unable to put order in its own house, and take care of its children.
They also believe that the West’s solutions to Africa appear to be seen as violating the continent’s sovereignty.
The recent military conflicts in Ivory Coast and Libya, where foreign forces intervened to help flush out rogue heads of state Laurent Gbagbo and Muammar Gaddafi, respectively, are the perfect case studies of Africa’s weakness to clean up its mess.
The Standard Digital said: “The proposal for a continental army gained pace five years ago following a new trend, where perceived presidential losers perpetuated themselves in power through fraudulently crafted coalition governments.” Zimbabwe and Kenya perfectly fit in this statement.
However, it remains unclear why some African countries were resisting the idea by refusing to provide troops, but some observers believe many heads of state were scared that the AU army, which they may help build and create, may turn up against them in case they lost elections and wanted to stay in power by force.
It is also not known where they force will be based, or whether the AU was financially strong enough to run, manage and equip the army, whose bills could mount to billions of dollars.
Political analyst Abdurrahim Siradag, of the International University of Sarajevo in Bosnia-Herzegovina and University of Leiden in the Netherlands, said AU members should set up a joint system of funding to support peace operations within the continent, without external aid.
Siradag also called on African governments to strengthen the collaboration within the AU. “Weak and ineffective African organisations are doomed to remain passive in world politics and will be unable to resolve their own security problems,” he said.
According to The Standard, the formation of an African force was the subject of discussion during an AU-hosted international conference in Dakar, Senegal, last month.
*Photo by Wikimedia Commons.