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Sunday 31 August 2014, 07:00 am.
A stand-by force in Africa is a top priority

Last week, a tragic event occurred in Namibia where members of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Special Force had a joint training with their colleagues from the region. A boat capsized claiming the lives of a couple of soldiers from other southern African countries.
By Mmegi Editor Fri 11 Oct 2013, 14:19 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: A stand-by force in Africa is a top priority

In the same week, American special forces were dispatched by President Barack Obama to a Somali beach with one mission in mind - to capture another US-suspected terrorist Abdulkadir Mohamed Abdulkadir. That operation was not successful. Three weeks ago, Al-Shabab terrorists ook over a shopping centre in Nairobi, Kenya and killed dozens of people. The list of deceased included people from around the world and from this region. At the point when this terrorist attack took place we, in these pages, urged African leaders to rise to the challenge of instability in the continent.

The accident that took place in Namibia is a very tragic event. However it is worth looking at the importance of what the soldiers were engaged in to understand why such programmes need to be sustained. Africa is faced with a myriad challenges one of which is instability.

The threat of wars between nations or even between groups in one nation has largely subsided and the dividend of peace is starting to show results. We know that Africa has experienced unprecedented economic growth and the development of a middle class. However all these gains will not be sustainable unless various threats across the continent can be dealt with in a sustainable manner. The apparatus of achieving peace need to be given first priority.

However, as the arguments between Libya and the US over another recent special forces mission shows, peace in Africa cannot be left to the needs and strategic interests of the West.

The West can and must be a partner when the need arises. However leaving conflicts to deteriorate often attracts the misguided Western intervention which often leads to further collapse of long term structures upon which peace can be built.

Therefore, African countries need to commit to the development of a sustainable stand-by force with full capabilities to attend to the security threats in the continent. African leaders who think that dumping the International Criminal Court (ICC) without a legitimate replacement is a proper step need to rethink their position. Until the ordinary citizen has access to justice, peace will remain elusive in the continent.

 Therefore, the thinking should be that much as African countries have committed their soldiers to a standby force, they should show a similar commitment to a Pan-African judicial system to deal with abuse of human rights in the continent. The judicial instrument will be handy where the national judicial processes have failed.

Today's thought

"Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment". - Jim Rohn

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