Obasanjo blames leaders for conflicts in Africa

Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Summit on security holds April 16

Some of Africa’s leaders are responsible for instability on the continent because they have failed to manage diversity in their societies, former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said.

By the same token, he noted that outside interference in Africa has been responsible for conflicts on the continent, citing the NATO air strikes in Libya in 2011 that led to the removal from power of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. “The repercussions are now being felt in Mali, Nigeria and the Sahel,” Obasanjo told a press conference on the upcoming Tana high-level forum on Security in Africa in Ethiopia. Asked whether African leaders were to blame for the conflicts on the continent, he said: “Yes and no.”

Obasanjo, who is the chairman of the Tana Forum, said leaders were failing their people because they had not been able to prevent marginalisation in their societies, prevent injustice, reduce unemployment, reduce poverty, and embrace democracy and good governance.

The theme of this year’s forum is Africa in the Global Security Agenda.

This is apt, given the continuing fallout from the NATO intervention in Libya, for which United States President Barack Obama recently criticised the British and French governments for getting rid of Gaddafi without having plans in place for effective “follow-up”.

On the issue of African peacekeeping operations, Obasanjo agreed that the lack of funding from African Union member-states was another major setback for peace and security on the continent.

He recalled that when he was head of state, he was in charge of a high-level panel to search for alternative sources of funding for the AU, but this came to nothing. He noted that when the AU was looking for funds to counter the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, member states failed to provide the money.

The Deputy Chairman of the Forum, Professor Andreas Eshete of Ethiopia, said that Africa had to have not only a stronger voice in the global security architecture but for its perspectives to be taken into account and incorporated into the global security agenda.

The 5th Tana High-Level Forum will take place on 16-17 April 2016 in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. More than 150 participants are expected to attend, including current and former heads of state and government, high-ranking government officials, academics, civil society representatives, experts and policymakers from the AU, UN and other international institutions.

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