African national legislators attending the 10th session of the Pan African Parliament (PAP), have called upon the African Union Commission to increase the capacity of the AU peacekeeping force in order for it to be able to deal more efficiently with conflicts on the continent.
The legislators noted that various conflicts both military and civil on the continent such as those in Mauritania, Somalia, DR Congo, Darfur, Chad, and Zimbabwe, would be avoidable if the AU peacekeeping force was active and efficient.
They were reacting to the Deputy Chairperson of the African Commission Erastus J. O. Mwencha, who, in his speech earlier in the day, had stated that the AU was determined to strengthen the peace and security initiatives on the continent as a pre condition for Africa’s development.
On the economic front, Mwencha reported that the AU had early this year signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) defining the relationship between them.
Namibia’s Chuzao Gullelab, said that talk of peace and security by the AU was useless as long as conflicts persisted on a daily basis on the continent.
“The crisis in Eastern DR Congo, Somalia and Darfur are frustrating and AU organs appear incompetent to handle them,” Gullelab argued.
Another delegate, Mohammed Laga said that because of the limited integration processes on the continent, conflicts in many regions in Africa are sometimes fermented by outside forces while Africans were sometimes not directly responsible.
He called for a more effective Pan African Parliament to move faster from being an advisory body with no powers to a proactive one that can demand action from government such that these conflicts can be avoided.
Commenting on the issue of stability Sunnir Door from Mauritius said that from the independence era in Africa, there had been 206 Heads of State on the continent but only 20 good leaders.
He added that the AU needed “to budget more and more for development and less and less for peacekeeping” as is the case now.
Shadrac Niyonkuru from Burundi called upon the AU to devise concrete measures to demand the reinstatement of the constitutional government and penalise all African governments that come to power through Coup de etats.
Dr Georgette Kalimi from Egypt said that the noble causes that African leaders want to achieve will not be achieved if the mentality of poverty still exists in the mindset of the same leaders; the mentalities she added are manifested through the rampant corruption on the continent.