This is the day when the continent should be celebrating unity and the long held objectives of self-determination, rule of law and democracy. Regrettably, these principles remain remote and alien to the realities of African people as they are violated with impunity in the majority of our countries.
This years theme was peace and security in Africa – a strongly held aspiration on the continent as evidenced by the establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the AU and articulated in the founding Protocol. The Councils primary objective is to promote peace, security and stability in Africa, in order to guarantee the protection and preservation of life and property, the well being of the African people and their environment, as well as the creation of conditions conducive to sustainable development.
However, the prevailing situation in Africa runs contrary to the objectives set out in the Protocol. The continent is failing to come up with concrete solutions that can effectively end conflict on the continent. The failure to address problems in Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and now Zimbabwe, typify the dereliction of responsibility by the continents leadership. The continents peoples remain exposed to violence and instability, and consequently, poverty and suffering.
The single greatest threat to peace and security across the continent is the unfortunate acceptance by the AU of mediated democracies or settlements as opposed to elected democracies. Zimbabwe, Kenya and Madagascar are examples of such processes, which have led to the formation of coalition or so-called inclusive governments. For as long as Africans are denied their right to fully and freely participate in the government of their countries, there will always be contested leadership, which inevitably has the potential of degenerating into conflict.
The formation of the OAU (now the AU) was a fundamental political step in as far as it gave new political impetus to the people of Africa. The founding principles of the OAU, as consolidated in the AU Constitutive Act of 2002, require popular participation through free and fair elections. It was not envisaged that governments would come into being through negotiated or brokered agreements. This growing phenomenon on the African continent is a negation of the aspirations of our founding fathers.
The Zimbabwe Human Rights forum has implored the continent, in particular Zimbabweans, to guard against negotiated processes or any other manifestation that circumvents electoral processes thereby usurping the power of the electorate. The call for free and fair elections can never be overemphasised. The human rights organisation further called upon all progressive elements in Zimbabwes inclusive government to work towards the development of strong democratic institutions and culture, observance of human rights and the rule of law, as well as the implementation of post-conflict recovery programmes and sustainable development policies. These remain essential for the promotion of collective security, durable peace and stability, as well as for the prevention of conflicts.Post published in: Opinions