Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Obasanjo blasts France, Britain over conflicts in Africa.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, has taken a swipe at the government of France and Britain over the current happening in Africa, Premium Times reports.

The former president, who spoke at a press conference on the upcoming Tana High-Level forum on Security in Africa in Ethiopia, accused France and Britain of fueling conflicts in the African region. He said both countries outside interference in the African region has been responsible for conflicts, and cited the NATO air strikes in Libya in 2011 that led to the removal and eventual death Muammar Gaddafi. 
“The repercussions are now being felt in Mali, Nigeria and the Sahel,” he said. When the elder statesman was asked if African leaders were to blame for the conflicts on the continent, he said: “Yes and no.” Obasanjo, who is the chairman of the Tana forum, blamed some African leaders for the conflicts in the continent, saying they failed to manage diversity in their societies. He explained that leaders were failing their people because they could not stop marginalisation in their societies, prevent injustice, reduce unemployment, reduce poverty as well as embrace democracy and good governance. 

Speaking on this year’s topic: “Africa in the Global Security Agenda,” the ex-president said the theme is very appropriate because of the continued fallout from the NATO intervention in Libya. He recalled that President Barack Obama of the United States recently criticised the French and British governments for getting rid of Gaddafi without putting in place measures to effective “follow-up.” 

Obasanjo, who also spoke on African peacekeeping operations, agreed that inadequate funding from African Union member states was an impediment to the peace and security on the continent. According to him, during his tenure as the head of state, he was in charge of a high-level panel to explore alternative sources of funding for the AU, but nothing could be raised. The former president stated that even when AU was looking for money to fight the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, member states failed to provide funds. 

“The AU eventually had to turn to the private sector and it was able to raise $40 million,” he said. The forum’s chairman asserted that he was critical of AU member states for not contributing to the AU’s general budget, saying: “I think this is down to the lack of political will.” He pointed out that Ebola and migration from Africa had security implications not only on African continent, “because we now live in a global community whereby if something happens in Africa, it affects the rest of the world. This was why Africa had to take a serious look at its security infrastructure, what Africans could do themselves to deal with these issues, and what should be the continent’s role in formulating security policies globally.” 

Professor Andreas Eshete of Ethiopia, who is the deputy chairman of the forum reiterated the need for the continent to have not only a stronger voice in the global security design but also for its viewpoints to be taken into account and integrated into the global security agenda.

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