AU, UN launch initiative to boost peaceful transitions in Africa

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An initiative aimed at promoting peaceful transfer of power in Africa, avert coups and turmoil was launched Saturday by the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

   The initiative, dubbed Africa Facility to Support Inclusive Transitions (AFSIT) which was launched ahead of the AU Heads of State and Government summit in Nairobi slated for Sunday, seeks to entrench peaceful political transition as a prerequisite for the continent’s long-term stability.

   Bankole Adeoye, Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the AU Commission, said strengthening institutions, inclusive dialogue, and enlarging civic space to deter an unconstitutional change of governments in Africa is a key component of the new AU, UNDP joint initiative.

   Adeoye said the initiative was launched in response to the call by the African leaders during their meeting in May in Malabo, the capital of Equatorial Guinea, where they reiterated their commitment to fostering democratic rule.

   The AFSIT, which will be implemented in phases, will act as a guardrail against undemocratic change of governments, including military coups besides leveraging data and early warning to prevent fragile states in Africa from sliding into turmoil.

   Adeoye added that the initiative aligns with aspirations of the AU Agenda 2063 roots for deepening the rule of law, democracy, and peace, as a means to attain long-term socioeconomic renewal in the continent.

   Ahunna Eziakonwa, the UNDP assistant administrator and regional director for Africa, said that upon implementation, the AFSIT will create societies that are more inclusive, equal, peaceful, and stable. “Initiatives like AFSIT will entrench inclusive, legitimate, and democratic political transitions in Africa. It will also promote peaceful settlements to political disputes and deter conflicts,” Eziakonwa remarked.

   She added that for Africa to sustain growth, renewal, peace, and stability, it was imperative for countries to maintain fidelity to the constitution and promote inclusive political dialogue.

   Korir Sing’oei, Kenya’s principal secretary for foreign affairs in the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, said African countries must push back against the unconstitutional change of governments even as they endeavour to improve governance.

   Describing military coups as an affront to democracy in Africa, Sing’oei added that the continent should enhance vigilance to deter insurrections and weaponization of the democratic space to foment strife.

   Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Nigerian president, said the continent should entrench democratic norms suited to its unique circumstances in order to sustain peace and stability.  

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