The African Union, through its Peace and Security Commission, recently announced plans to establish an African Centre for the Study of Genocide with view to fast-track early response in preventing hate crimes and genocide on the continent. This is a commendable gesture by all means. Africa must position itself as the first responder whenever a member state is faced with looming genocide and similar atrocities because of many reasons, key among them being the geographic question. ALSO READ: 29 years later, Rwanda remembers Secondly, Africans are best placed to easily grasp the context of a conflict taking place on the continent unlike those from other regions. However, this proposal must be followed by practical steps to ensure the facility is not only established, but also make sure it is fully empowered to discharge its mandate. For it to fully function, and independently, a funding mechanism for the centre has to be sought. As the saying goes, he who pays the piper calls the tune. This means that the centre must be fully funded by Africa because just like above saying, previous experience has not been good where because of sourcing their funding externally, African institutions have ended up being rendered inept mainly due to external influence by those that fund them. However, as the continent seeks to establish the centre which will be tasked to develop early warning and response mechanisms to prevent hate crimes, there is so much that can be done even before it is established. Four months now, thousands of Congolese – those in the country and compatriots exiled all over the world – have been calling upon the international community to do something about the looming genocide in the country’s east. The events that have been prevalent since mid-last year have all the hallmarks of a genocide in preparation but nothing has been done to stop it the killers in their tracks. It started with hate speech targeting Kinyarwanda-speaking Congolese and this has over time graduated into full-scale pogroms widely recorded and circulated on social media. Purveyors of hate speech include senior government officials at public rallies and no one has been reprimanded for this, meaning that this could easily be a campaign backed from the very top leadership. With the United Nations, assuming an observer status in the face of a genocide – just like was the case in Rwanda 29 years ago – Africa has an opportunity to do something to save these poor Congolese and for this you do not need a centre to stop this massacre before things get out of hand.