The longstanding strategy of ‘divide and rule’ was used to perfection throughout much of Africa, which now has more borders than any other continent. The scheme was simple: fossilize Africa’s various ethnic groups, many of which were historical rivals, then force them under one geopolitical roof with preferences given, in some instances, to one group over another. Independence, then, would be fraught with so many ethnic (and religious) hostilities and antagonisms that national integration and political stability would be practically impossible. As a result, Africa is replete with intrastate and interstate conflicts, many of which, over the years, have blossomed into full scale civil wars.
Only the might of an All-African Military High Command, under the centralized authority of an African Union Government, will be able to resolve these conflicts and end these devastating wars, including the various forms of violence resulting from religious extremism. The UN, NATO, EU, USA, or any other entity outside of Africa can never, and will never, solve Africa’s internal problems. None of them have the genuine interest, will, means, or mandate to do so. Instead, if left in the hands of outside forces (many operating with anti-African agendas) they are more likely to make matters worse.
Given what we know, it makes no sense to count on non-African forces to solve our problems. Who, after all, maneuvered the great Pan-Africanist, Patrice Lumumba, out of office in the Congo and into the murderous clutches of the CIA, the Belgians, and their puppet soldier, Mobutu Sese Seko? Who pulled their troops out of Rwanda and failed to protect the lives of over 800,000 victims of genocide? And who orchestrated and sponsored the civil war in Libya that resulted in the assassination of Muammar Gadhafi, one of Africa’s most serious Pan-Africanists? Even now, consider the inability of the UN to prevent the war-torn southeast Democratic Republic of Congo from becoming the ‘Rape Capital of the World.’ Is there any wonder, then, why UN ‘Peacekeepers’ in Mozambique, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Haiti have been found guilty of fathering hundreds of children with local women and girls, in some cases subjecting them to the most virulent forms of sexual violence and exploitation?
As quiet as it has been kept, Africa itself, has an outstanding record of resolving its own conflicts, and it has done so for generations. Throughout the continent, there were many traditional systems and institutions that were strikingly similar, and that were designed to resolve inter and intra ethnic and regional conflicts long before the European invasion of Africa. Unfortunately, as with many indigenous African cultural patterns, these arbitration customs were either jettisoned or marginalized in favor of Eurocentric models.
Nonetheless, the tools for ending conflicts and building peace throughout Africa still lie essentially in Africa among Africans. More recently, this has been evidenced by the indispensable role played by African women in helping to resolve conflicts and build peace throughout the continent. Indeed, their success record, especially in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa, and Rwanda in East Africa, has been far better than the intervention experiences and mediating efforts of some of the regional (male dominated) ad hoc military formations. In this regard, the Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) readily comes to mind. A weak resolve, inadequate funding, poor planning, flawed logistics, and uncertain objectives—all of which could have been remedied with an All-African Military High command—were the main factors that contributed to the blunders ECOMOG made in West Africa. Unfortunately, many of these same criticisms can be leveled at the African Union’s Standby Force (ASF), which has been plagued by poorly trained soldiers, ill-equipped armies, underfunded operations, and lack of centralized control.
Although the ASF and the various regional ad hoc groupings have not experienced complete failure, clearly the primary victims of war and conflict in Africa, women (and children), need to be at the forefront of any attempt to end conflicts and build peace in Africa. Who has a greater reason for this to happen than African women, whose lives have been ruined by ethnic conflicts, tribal wars, political violence, and sexual exploitation by peacekeeping soldiers? And who is better equipped to make this happen than African women, who find it much easier than men to cross the explosive boundaries of religion, ethnicity, and party affiliation? Their socialization, along with their vested interest in peace, renders them the greatest stakeholders for peace that we have. A Bureau of Women’s Affairs, then, as an integral part of an All-African Union Government, must be charged with the responsibility of institutionalizing a pivotal role for women in conflict resolution and peace building in Africa. With proper training, a steadfast commitment to Pan-Africanism, and the backing of an All-African Union Government, African women, especially women from the grassroots, can be deployed throughout the continent, alongside their male counterparts, as Africa’s primary arbitrators, negotiators, conciliators, and mediators.
On the international front, an effective defense against foreign espionage and aggression must be one of Africa’s top priorities. Without it, whatever gains made towards a unified and socialist Africa will be seriously threatened. Who begrudges China for acquiring the military capacity to protect the Chinese homeland, including building an arsenal of inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of reaching anywhere in the world in a matter of minutes? Had they not, how safe, how secure, would their standing be as a growing industrial giant and formidable global power? Global peace, with justice, including universal nuclear disarmament, must be the ultimate objective of all peoples around the world. However, until we get there, nay, in order to get there, Africa will have to be in a position to repel or dissuade any other country, or groups of countries, from establishing military bases on its soil, using Africa’s armed forces to fight proxy wars in pursuit of foreign interests, and bullying Africa into economic and political submission. This can only be achieved by the power derived from of an All-African Union Government.
A balkanized Africa will have billions of dollars it spends on military hardware, and millions of its uniformed soldiers stretched across the continent, dissipated into ineffectiveness—the existence of regional ad hoc military groups and the ASF notwithstanding. Into this void slipped NATO, EU, and single country interlopers, each committed to maintaining geo-political dominance in Africa while protecting the financial interests of the global north (vis a vis its adversaries, e.g., China, Russia, and others). While France has become a perfectionist in this regard, one of the more recent and most troubling examples of this, because of its continental reach, is U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). With very little transparency, AFRICOM has carried out thousands of military missions in Africa since its inception in 2008, including a growing number of airstrikes. This has been carried out with thousands of U.S. troops, weaponized drone bases, and the connivance of various African governments scattered across the continent. Only an All-African Union Socialist Government will be able to put an end to foreign interference and establish an effective military defense, intelligence-gathering agency, surveillance operations, and reconnaissance missions. What is at stake is the peace and prosperity that Africa so urgently needs.
With the attainment of a free, economically and militarily strong Africa, African people the world over will have a real defense against vicious racist and neo-colonial exploitation. Africa, as projected by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, will then be a powerful force for world peace.