The Role Of African Union (A.U.) In Promoting Peace And Security In Africa

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The Role Of African Union (A.U.) In Promoting Peace And Security In Africa


Abstract


A significant challenge that confronted the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) throughout its establishment was the successful management of intra-state conflicts in member states. The OAU was criticized for its lack of intervention in these conflicts due to its Charter provision of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states. The launch of the African Union in 2002 signaled a new era in the quest for peace and security in Africa. The AU initiated important steps towards the creation of an African Peace and Security Architecture for the management and maintenance of conflicts. The AU’s Constitutive Act further gives the right of intervention in the internal affairs of members to the Union. Since its establishment, the AU has lunched military and diplomatic operations in Burundi, Sudan, Somalia, Comoros, Togo, Ivory Coast, Niger, Madagascar, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Libya among others. The main objective of this study is to assess the role of African Union (AU) in promoting peace and security in Africa. The study hypothesised that although the African Union’s doctrine of non-indifference has galvanized its young institutions of peace and security into making significant strides in the conduct of peace operations on the continent, it has had very limited effect on the success of interventions. The research findings noted that, while the AU has demonstrated commitment to address conflicts in Africa it faces severe capacity constraints. This does not auger well for the Union’s future in peace and security.


Table of Content


Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the Study
  • 1.2 Statement of the Problem
  • 1.3 Objectives of the Study
  • 1.4 Research Question
  • 1.5 Research Hypothesis
  • 1.6 Significance of the Study
  • 1.7 Scope of Study
  • 1.8 Limitation of the Study
  • 1.9 Definition of Terms
  • 1.10 Organisation of the Study

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Regional Organisations: A Historical Overview
  • 2.3 Regional Organization in Asia, Europe and the Americas
  • 2.4 Studies On Africa’s Regional Organisation – OAU in the Area of Peace and Security
  • 2.5 African Union and the Management of Peace And Security
  • 2.6 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.6.1 Traditional Institutionalism
  • 2.6.2 New Institutionalism

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Data Collection
  • 3.2.1 Primary Sources of Data
  • 3.2.2 Secondary Sources of Data
  • 3.3 Methods of Analysis

Chapter Four

4.0 Results and Discussion

  • 4.1 AU Capability Gaps in the Selected Conflicts
  • 4.1.1 Capability to Act
  • 4.1.2 AU Logistical Support to the Missions
  • 4.1.3 AU Capability to Fund Its Missions
  • 4.2 The AU’s Management of Unconstitutional Change of Government’s From 2002 to 2012
  • 4.3 The African Union Practice on Unconstitutional Governments

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References

Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

The early 1990s saw the end of the Cold War that had greatly impacted international relations. The post-Cold War era has been noted to have led to an increase in the willingness of governments to work through the United Nations and other international organisations to resolve conflicts and keep peace around the globe.1 The increase in regional cooperation arrangements has reduced inter-state conflicts throughout the world. On the contrary, intra-state conflicts gained ascendency within the same period. Fearon argues that the post-Cold War period has seen an increase in intra-state conflicts the world over but especially in the Third World and in Africa.2 The prevalence of intra-state conflicts in the post-Cold War era “is attributable mostly to ethnically driven conflicts over self-determination, succession or political dominance and religion.”3

Fearon further notes that the appearance of civil wars as a major international problem also peaked after the Cold War. Most of these civil wars and their multiple repercussions have also resulted in intra-state wars becoming the main threat to international peace and security.4 The international community and major international organisations like the United Nations cannot be said to have prepared well for this trend. These organisations were designed to cope with inter- state relations and problems. The occurrence of these conflicts within states has created the challenge and a reluctance to intervene either on legal grounds of sovereignty or for the fear of high death tolls should intervention take place. Collier and Sambanis have made the observation that intra-state conflicts in the post-Cold War period have contributed to a significant rise in civilian casualties than the inter-state wars prior to the end of the Cold War.5

Hutchful notes that the end of the Cold War brought the willingness to both question and rethink the traditional concepts of security among nations.6 The emergence of global systems, global communications and the elements of a global culture transcend national borders to encompass people all over the world.7 Yilmaz observes that this has ‘led to the growing obsolescence of territorial wars between states’8 but at the same time introduced new risks into international security. These new risks were originally not deemed to be part of the traditional security concerns but have become of great concern to states in the post-Cold War period. In addition to intra-state conflicts, issues associated with the environment, poverty, weapons of mass destruction, maritime piracy, illicit drug trafficking, and the proliferation of small arms have plunged states into conflict and have become a major challenge that nations face in the post-Cold War era.

It has been observed that Africa has not been left out of these new threats to peace and security. The 1990s and early 2000s, saw most countries in Africa go through one upheaval or the other and these, to a large extent, were believed to be a result of the end of the Cold War.9 The Cold War saw the propping up of authoritarian regimes and the support of client states. Francis posits that Africa was of strategic importance to the superpowers in terms of military, economic and political spheres. The superpowers supported these client states through the supply of arms and aid incentives. The supply of arms led to the formation of both military and para-military groups in client states. The end of the Cold War ended the support received by states like Angola, Uganda, Somalia, Zaire Ethiopia and Sierra Leone and this led to the outbreak of conflicts, which had been simmering during the Cold War as a result of the brutal regimes that emerged in Africa.10

Insecurity in Africa has come in the form of ‘conflicts and insurgencies, small-arms proliferation, HIV/AIDS and drought to violent crime.’11 The United Nations is noted to have stepped in to resolve some of the conflicts but failed woefully, as the case was in Rwanda. The end of the Cold War therefore found Africa in dire need of solutions that will stem the ravages of conflict on the continent. It has been suggested, for instance: that during the last two decades of the 20th Century, about twenty-eight African countries engaged in violent conflict. Out of this number, the 1994 Rwandan genocide reportedly accounted for approximately eight hundred thousand deaths while the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo reportedly claimed some 4.7 million casualties. A significant number of people, most of them non- combatants, also died in the conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone and other African countries as a result of physical injuries, hunger and diseases.12

Hutchful further notes that the implication of the above includes, an equally profound failure of development in Africa. He observes that Africa has seen a drastic decline in standards of living and there has been little or no economic growth in the last four decades. He attributes the lack of growth to conflicts that destroy every little gain made in economic development. Conflicts destroy infrastructure that is necessary for development.

According to Deveraux and Maxwell, the security crisis in Africa is now driving a new form of regionalism that focuses overwhelmingly on security.13It has been suggested that a possible answer to the management of the problem of insecurity on the continent lies with regionalism, in general, and regional security institutions, in particular. Lake and Morgan have, for instance, noted the increase in regional security organisations during the past decade, as part of the new wave of regionalism in security affairs. Helena Gandois has similarly noted the increasing attention regionalism in security affairs has received in the context of security management due to its potential as a force for global change.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The problems facing Africa in the contemporary world are economic, political, social, as well as environmental in nature. “Africa portrays the image of a continent, riddled with territorial disputes, armed conflicts, civil wars, violence and the collapse of governments, and ultimately states.”14 The longest lasting and most debilitating of these conflicts have occurred within sovereign states and have assumed various forms – states against their own populations, dominant ethnic groups against minorities and dominant religious groups against others. These conflicts have also engendered a platform for warlords and various other actors benefiting from the turmoil.15
The organisation of African Unity (OAU) was strongly criticized for failure to intervene in the crises that led to loss of hundreds of lives in Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1990s. Paul. D. Williams,16 Yorom, G. J. and Anning, E. K.,17 El Ayouty18 and Funmi Olonisakin,19 in their works opine, that the OAU was unable to transform itself into an efficient organisation, capable of promoting peace and security in Africa. These authors cite institutional weakness, the OAU’s policy of non-interference, a lack of political will on the part of African leaders and financial constraints as some of the challenges the OAU faced in the management of peace and security. The authors further criticize the OAU, for failing to find lasting solutions to the problems of peace and security in Africa throughout the Organisation’s history. The non-interference policy, these writers opine, crippled the OAU further and made it powerless in the field of preventing violent conflicts. Instead, over the years, the OAU relied on the international community to resolve conflicts on the continent, despite its repeated failure to do so successfully.

The launch of the AU in 2002 initiated important steps towards the creation of an African security regime for maintaining and managing conflicts. Operating within the political rhetoric of providing “African solutions to African problems,” the regime aims at addressing all the problems of peace and security on the continent. The literature on the subject matter clearly reveals that ten years since the inception of the AU, all the relevant policies have been formulated where peace and security is concerned but their implementation appear to have been rather slow. Kristina Powell20 and Peter Cooke aptly note that “the institutional architecture envisioned by the AU is ambitious and broad, and yet, at the moment, these ambitions remain largely a framework, with neither depth nor capacity.”21 Powell also notes a significant divergence from the OAU’s peace and security mechanisms in the AU’s current regime.22 Unlike its predecessor the OAU that had a non-intervention policy, the African Union clearly spells out its provisions for intervention in the internal affairs of member states.

Most of the works, however, have often focused on one or two interventions of the organisation and drawn general conclusions as to how the organisation has fared. An analysis of the totality of the AU’s interventions (military and unconstitutional changes of government) provide a broader and holistic picture in assessing how well the AU has fared and the challenges that have confronted the organisation in its quest to intervene in crisis situations on the continent.

Specifically, what this thesis does differently, therefore, is assess the totality of the AU’s management of interventions since its inception, from 2002 to 2012 and how its doctrine of non- indifference in the internal affairs of states has been operationalized and translated into interventions.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to assess the role of African Union (AU) in promoting peace and security in Africa.

Specifically, the objectives of the study include to;

  1. Give an overview on the quest for peace and security in Africa;
  2. Assess the normative framework for intervention from the OAU to the AU;
  3. Assess the peace and security architecture of the African Union as to whether it meets the security needs for interventions;
  4. Assess the performance of the AU in interventions or the lack of it;
  5. Draw conclusions and offer recommendations.

1.4 Research Question

The following research questions are formulated to guide this research:

  1. How has the quest for peace and security in Africa been?
  2. What is the normative framework for intervention from the OAU to the AU?
  3. What is the peace and security architecture of the African Union as to whether it meets the security needs for interventions?
  4. How effective is the performance of the AU in interventions or the lack of it?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

This study is underpinned by the supposition that although the African Union’s doctrine of non-indifference has galvanized its young institutions of peace and security into making significant strides in the conduct of peace operations on the continent, it has had very limited effect on the success of interventions.


1.6 Significance of the Study

The importance of this study is appreciable in the fact that:

  1. The AU Secretariat staff and policy makers would benefit from it as it presents viable prospects to address issues raised.
  2. It will also contribute to the existing body of knowledge on promoting peace and security by the AU in Africa.
  3. It will serve as reference material for further research in the area of conflict resolution

1.7 Scope of Study

This study was carried out to assess the role of African Union (AU) in promoting peace and security in Africa. The study was limited to the African Union interventions between 2002 and 2012.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

The study was limited by constraints such as lack of access to materials that were relevant for this study; difficulty in the collection of primary and secondary data; time and financial constraints in the course of the study.


1.9 Definition of Terms

African Union:

Is a continental union consisting of 55 member states located on the continent of Africa. The AU was announced in the Sirte Declaration in Sirte, Libya, on 9 September 1999, calling for the establishment of the African Union.

Peace:

Is a concept of societal friendship and harmony in the absence of hostility and violence. In a social sense, peace is commonly used to mean a lack of conflict and freedom from fear of violence between individuals or groups.

Security:

Is freedom from, or resilience against, potential harm caused by others. Beneficiaries of security may be of persons and social groups, objects and institutions, ecosystems or any other entity or phenomenon vulnerable to unwanted change.


1.10 Organisation of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding it is broken down as follows:

  • Chapter one kicks off with the introduction, which consists of the background of the study, statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research hypothesis, scope and significance of the study.
  • Chapter two begins with the conceptual framework on which the study is based, the theoretical literatures and also the empirical literature and thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the methodology.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the results and discussion.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


5.0 Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

Since the transformation of the OAU into the AU in 2002, the Union has intervened in a myriad of crisis situations. The AU’s response to crisis on the continent has been militarily and by the application of sanctions where necessary. In spite of the AU’s quest to bring peace and security to the continent, challenges remain as to the Union’s capacity to manage these conflict situations in the first place. Considering the AU’s potential as the closest organisation to the conflicts in Africa and therefore able to provide first – line response prior to the intervention by the United Nations and the international community, it was essential that the state of the Union’s conflict management capacity be examined and interrogated.

The study proceeded on the hypothesis that although the African Union’s doctrine of non- indifference has galvanized its young institutions of peace and security into making significant strides on the continent, it was still far from fully operationalizing an effective peace and security regime. On the basis of the hypothesis, the study sought to interrogate the AU’s management of peace and security situations in Africa since its inception and the challenges that the AU’s institutions (PSC) has grappled with. The objectives of the study therefore, were to give an overview on the quest for peace and security in Africa; to assess the normative framework of intervention from the OAU to the AU; to assess the peace and security architecture of the African Union and to assess the performance of the AU in interventions or the lack of them since 2002.

From the foregone discussions, it can be said that the AU has demonstrated the will and determination to intervene in conflicts in Africa. The AU has accomplished this through military interventions and a sanctions regime. The AU, however, suffers from major capacity gaps in the area of conflict management. These capacity gaps range from infrastructure to funding of the Union’s programs. The study found that the AU has so far relied on the international community to both finance its interventions and provide the needed capacity in terms of equipment for its missions. The study also found that the AU has so far depended on the UN to take-over most of its mission. Where the UN has failed to takeover, the AU has found itself left with managing conflicts it neither has the resources nor the capacity to handle.


5.2 Conclusion

In spite of the modest gains in its peace and security initiatives, the study has established that the AU still faces severe capacity constraints. The track record of the AU shows a bold engagement with many conflict situations on the continent. These range from armed conflicts to unconstitutional changes of government. The AU, by these actions, has shown the commitment to address conflicts on the continent. However, commitment alone is not enough for the AU to address conflicts. The AU must translate its commitment into ensuring that the right structures – with regard to personnel, material and financial support are put in place to enable the PSC to deploy missions as and when the need arises without depending on external sources. As already noted, although the African Union’s doctrine of non-indifference has galvanized its young institutions of peace and security into making significant strides in the conduct of peace operations on the continent, it has had very limited effect on the success of interventions. Operationalization will be fully reached only when the AU is able to implement the standby Brigades and be able to deploy the required troop numbers in its missions as well as to fund its Missions from its own coffers.


5.3 Recommendation

From the findings and conclusions, the study recommends the following;

  1. The AU needs an Evaluation Unit to enable the Organisation evaluate its missions and generate recommendations for reforming the system. This will go a long way to ensure that institutional memory is not lost within the AU.
  2. The AU must, as a matter of urgency, re-appraise its conflict management capacity, beginning with the reformation of the membership of the Peace and Security Council. The PSC membership as it currently stands, includes a number of authoritarian regimes. In order for democracy to be upheld, the AU must ensure that Africa’s dictators do not control this crucial institution.
  3. The AU needs a policy that will harmonize the acquisition of weaponry by member states. This is very important in that the wide array of weapons used by the various armies create problems for a joint force. An agreement can be drawn for the various Standby Forces to standardize their weaponry systems to make future operations much easier to handle.
  4. The AU can fund its activities by ensuring that member states factor the ASF into their national defence budgets and planning and pay these monies into the special fund. This will make funds readily available for the support of missions as and when they are deployed. A continent wide levy could also be imposed on goods and services like the ECOWAS Levy and these monies paid into the Peace Fund. These will enable the AU find a truly ‘African Solution to African Problems’ since conditions that come with donor funds will be eliminated.
  5. The Civilian and Military components of the ASF must be prioritized by the AU and the RECs as they are crucial to the successful deployment of the ASF.
  6. The AU Commission must ensure that the PSC Secretariat is not turned into a political machine and filled with political nominees that are incompetent. Positions for the Secretariat must be advertised continent wide and the right people with the requisite competence employed to man it.

The Role Of African Union (A.U.) In Promoting Peace And Security In Africa


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