“Concrete action” needed to silence the guns in Africa

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The need for “concrete action” to end conflict in Africa was raised during an African Union (AU) workshop on “Silencing the Guns” with one delegate pointing out it took place while “another coup” was in process.

Mohamed Ibn Chambas, AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns, chaired the workshop. He told those attending: “It is unfortunate that while we were discussing in this gathering how to enhance the continent’s responsiveness to the wave of unconstitutional changes of government, another coup happened in Gabon, raising serious concern about realisation of our goals and whether this is an unending trend”.

The workshop in Nairobi outlined key areas for priority in the next three years, including peaceful settlement of conflicts, conflict prevention and strengthening the AU PCRD (post conflict reconstruction and development) policies, particularly reconciliation. Strategies to enhance implementation efforts to curtail the spiral of violence fuelled by the illicit circulation of firearms; the expansion of terrorist threats to various parts of Africa, as well as the resurgence of unconstitutional changes of governments across the continent were also proposed.

The workshop reviewed the 2016 AU master roadmap on practical steps to silence the guns and its monitoring and evaluation mechanism adopted in 2021 to fast track Master roadmap implementation.

Participants, according to an AU statement, highlighted efforts to silence guns in Africa. These included strengthening APSA (African Peace and Security Architecture) and AGA (African Governance Architecture) tools to prevent and mediate conflicts. It was stressed the first decade of the initiative’s implementation “offered many lessons” for the AU and member states to accelerate roadmap implementation. “In this regard, participants underscored the necessity for an effective domestication of the master roadmap at national and regional levels, through tailored national action plans adapted to promote participation and contribution of the Africa citizenry, in particular women and youth,” as per the statement.