Cameroon: Decolonising Governments, Resources Key for Peace and security in Africa-Experts At Nkafu Event

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

R to L, Dr Foretia Foundation, executive director of Nkafu Policy Institute and Esther Omam, CEO ReachOut Cameroon discuss on Towards a New Social Contract for Peace and Security in Africa

Experts on peace and security in Africa have underscored the need for the centralised nature of government and resources across the continent to be decolonised and for there to be an effective leadership that takes into account the local population.

The experts were speaking during an online interactive panel discussion organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute this March 1, 2022, on the theme “Towards a New Social Contract for Peace and Security in Africa.”

The session was moderated by Dr Denis Foretia who began by highlighting the present issues around the world such as the war in Ukraine and the consequences of such wars. According to him, there are at least fifteen armed conflicts around the African continent.

“The situation in Africa is blique, we are wondering what is happening as we have been hearing of conflicts everywhere on the continent,” Esther Omam, CEO of ReachOut Cameroon said in her opening remarks. “(The present situation) all ties to corruption, lack of voice, poor leadership and inequalities have made Africans suffer.”

“When people know that they live in poverty and see the scarce resources being misappropriated, it is arching as there is no accountability which is a problem. We should have an informed leadership that can give back to the population,” Esther Oman said when it concerns how the vicious cycle of lack of democracy could be broken.

Africa remains the region of the world with the highest proportion of fragile states, with many trapped in a vicious cycle of armed conflict, poverty and insecurity.  The conflicts in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Sahel are prime examples of cyclical violence perpetuating state fragility.

“Africans are not the big producers of carbon but they suffer from the repercussions of climate change,” Fonteh Akum, Executive Director, ISS Africa said. “How do we effectively disaggregate political government and security government? Security government will win the day because they have more access.”

The increased nature of fragility in Africa is also seen in the significant rise in the number of coups or attempted coups since 2019. Sudan, Mali, Guinea, Tchad and Burkina Faso have all experienced a coup or an attempted coup.

“Do we have people-centred leaders? Some African leaders are trying to make the wrong turn right,” Esther Omam said.

“These leaders are showing what can be achievable in terms of best practices. We should be the ones to dictate the peace and what we want for our country. At times we should allow the dry bones to fall off so that another can pick it up and let it flourish.”

Speaking on the peacebuilding processes, Esther Omam, the winner of the 2021 Civil Society Activist of the Year by the Guardian Post said “We should start by acknowledging our failures but that is lacking in most government structures across Africa and Cameroon not left out. We need to decolonise government and resources so that it gets to the local population. We need a new order, a vision that takes into account the needs of those at the local level.”

Institutions matter and they should be more important than personalities – Fonteh Akum said

Esther Omam is, however, still optimistic about the prospect of peace in Africa and achieving the right leadership. She said: “All hope is not lost; we can still write our name and the time is now for a new contract. We must acknowledge the place for women and the youths in all the processes. We must do community reward at the local level and make people have the feeling of belonging and also shunning tribalism.”

With the worsening impact of climate change and the growing youth population without access to decent jobs, it is necessary to begin discussions on the contours of a New Social Contract for peace and security in Africa.

To Fonteh Akum on the reasons why some African conflicts remain unsolved, “the geography of violent extremism makes it less costly to maintain the problem than to solve it

“We have been working on screwed social contracts and institutions matter they should be more important than personalities. There also need to be equity and equality as everyone should be equal before the law or else we will always have and create levels which will not be beneficial to the local population,” Fonteh Akum added.

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