African Heads of State and government have supported the creation of a well-equipped standby force to be deployed in new hotspots.
Leaders who spoke during the 10th anniversary of the AU peace and Security Council in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea said that Africa required a deployable standby force to combat new security challenges.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said, “We need to build a strong continental army that is able to respond effectively to security threats.
“Africa should depend on a well-equipped military force to combat armed conflicts, insurgency and terror attacks.”
African heads of state and government have rallied behind home grown interventions to defeat emerging security challenges.
Museveni stressed that time was ripe to operationalise an African standby force in the light of new and virulent security threats.
Museveni said, “Peace and stability are crucial for our economic growth and we need to build robust armies that can defend our territory from armed infiltrators.
“We can even set up a group of volunteers to respond to urgent security threats.”
Uganda has led military interventions in traditional and new hotspots across Africa.
Museveni noted that external military interventions have not offered lasting solution to conflicts in Africa.
He said, “We need to reframe approaches to contain armed rebellions that have cost lives and retarded Africa’s development.”
He decried the radical ideologies that have fuelled insurgency in Nigeria, Somalia and the Sahel region.
“To defeat insecurity, Africa must banish sectarian ideology and gender chauvinism that have balkanised societies resulting to loss of lives and property,” Museveni said.
African countries must reorganise their security architecture to deal effectively with armed conflicts, terrorism and transnational crimes.
Dozens of African presidents who attended the 10th anniversary since the creation of the AU Peace and Security Council endorsed the operationalisation of a standby force.
South African President Jacob Zuma stressed the need for consistent financial support towards peacekeeping operations in Africa’s hotspots.
Zuma said, “We should also rely on our internal capacities and this includes the operationalisation and deployment of an African standby force.
“The emphasis should also be on preventive diplomacy to minimise conflicts.”
The President of Chad, Idris Derby, noted that insurgencies sweeping across many parts of Africa have thrived due to weak internal mechanisms to respond to them.
“We need to strengthen Africa’s capacity to respond to new crises,” Derby said.
The AU has explored innovative strategies to end conflicts in Africa by the year 2020.
The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui said that the plans are afoot to launch an African police force.
He added that the AU has prioritised investments in early warning systems.