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General News of Thursday, 6 April 2017

Source: Graphic.com.gh

Post-conflict analysis inimical to promoting peace - Prof. Albert

A Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, Isaac Olawale Albert, has said the situation where African leaders wait until conflicts occur for them to do post-conflict analysis is not the best in promoting peace and security on the continent.

In line with that, he has called for proactive measures, including providing the basic needs of the people, to prevent conflicts.

Prof. Albert, who was speaking at the fifth Kofi Annan-Dag Hammarskjöld annual lecture in Accra last Tuesday, proposed that conflicts must be tackled before, during and after they had occurred, adding that “it is the surest means to deal with the situation.”

He said the time had also come for leaders to stop complaining about conflicts and act swiftly and promptly to curb their occurrence.

The annual lecture is meant to recognise the achievements and challenges of sustaining peace and security at the national, regional and international levels.

Theme

The theme for this year’s lecture was: “Regional engagement in peace building in Africa: perspectives and challenges.”

The event also served as a platform to influence policy makers on issues of peace and security, as well as honour the legacies of two former United Nations (UN) Secretary Generals, Mr Kofi Annan and Dag Hammarskjöld.

Activities of insurgents

Prof. Albert also stated that the activities of insurgents and militant groups would continue if African leaders were not able to address the basic needs of their people.

According to him, the militant groups continue to take advantage of the sufferings and frustrations of the locals and in their wake launch attacks on governments.

“What these locals at the grassroots are looking for is something small to sustain their livelihoods. But they are not getting it, so some groups then rise as a result and begin to fight as militant groups,” he said.

Even though he recognised the measures put in place by African leaders to fight the activities of the insurgents, Prof. Albert said there was the need for the leaders to step up their game to halt insurgent activities.

He said the development ought to send strong signals to African leaders that militant groups, such as Boko Haram, were not entirely dead, but could rear their ugly heads as and when the need arose.

Afro-phobia

According to him, xenophobia was not rife in South Africa nor more pervasive than what he described as Afro-phobia, where a lot of Africans were attacking their fellow countrymen in their own countries for strange reasons.

A lot of times, he said, whenever there were xenophobic attacks, leaders preferred to do on the spot assessment, rather than deal with the issues which were happening in their own countries.

The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Ms Heather Anne Cameron, who chaired the event lauded Africa for its level of progress.

That notwithstanding, she called for more to be done to enhance the living standards of the people.

Ms Cameron called for an integrative approach in fighting conflict globally.