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Chakwera for peace in Africa

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By Taonga Sabola

President Lazarus Chakwera has said peace safety and security are a prerequisite for the attainment of socio-economic development on the African continent.

Chakwera was speaking yesterday when he addressed the 14th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government on Silencing the Guns.

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The virtual session was organised to monitor progress on the agreement African leaders signed in 2013 to end armed conflicts on the continent by 2020.

Among other things, African heads of State noted that guns had not gone silent on the continent, with pockets of troubled spots in some countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and, most recently, Mozambique.

Chakwera told the meeting that economic activities flourish where there is peace and order. He said pockets of violence and armed   conflict that persist   in   parts   of the continent were a threat to the Africa’s collective prosperity.

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“It is therefore imperative that  we  work  together to heal these  open  sores,  as  well as  prevent  new  ones  from breaking  out  in  places  where  there  are  clear  signs  of resentment,  discontentment and radicalisation. It  is incumbent  upon  us  to  earnestly  implement  the AU [African Union] Master  Roadmap  of  Practical  Steps  for  Silencing  the Guns  in  Africa,  which  details  these  situations  and suggests remedies for the same.

“To   be   sure, disagreements in   any   situation   are inevitable,  but Malawi’s  experience  historically  and recently  is  those collaborative ways of  settling  disputes are  more  productive  than  combative  ones. For  this reason, Malawi champions  values  such as  contact  and  dialogue  in  the  Peace and  Security Council of the AU. We also share the reasoning of the AU  Master  Roadmap  of  Practical  Steps  for  Silencing the  Guns  in  Africa,  which  identifies, amongst  others, socio-economic   factors   as contributors to   armed conflicts  on  the continent,” Chakwera said.

He observed that Malawi  was of  the  view  that Regional Economic Communities (RECs) should serve as effective building blocks  of  the  AU  and  bridges  between  the  AU  and member states in achieving the objectives of Silencing the Guns Agenda, through the development of regional action plans.

Chakwera further said Malawi wanted   the international  community  to  work  closely  with  African States,  the  AU  and  RECs  to  eradicate  conditions  that germinate seeds  of violence.

“This  should  be  done by,  among  other  means,  supporting  the  AU’s  and RECs’  peace  building   efforts,   as   well   as stopping weapons flows to the continent,” Chakwera said.

AU Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa said, despite signing of the 2013 agreement, guns were still blazing in some places on the continent.

He said peace and stability would remain elusive if African leaders did not address the connection between security and development. During the meeting, Malawi supported the proposal  to  extend  the  mandate  of  the  programme  of silencing the guns and the roadmap beyond 2020 for 10  more years  (2021-2030),  with periodic reviews every two years.

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