Africa’s modern wars are fuelled by ideological problems, says Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
And Ethiopia’s first-ever female President, Sahle-Work Zewde, says women must be more involved in bringing about peace in conflict areas and be part of the solution because they are usually the victims of conflicts.
Speaking during the 28th World Economic Forum (WEF) in a session dubbed: “Working towards Peace”, President Museveni argued that the unjust wars being perpetrated across the continent in the modern era were being fuelled by ideological problems.
“The wars, which we are dealing with now, are really unjust wars. They are wars, which have no good reason and are caused by an ideological problem by emphasizing identity at the expense of interests; identity, either tribe or clan, like in Somalia or religion. So, that’s an ideological mistake because when you say ‘I am Christian, I am Muslim so we fight’ because of that,” President Museveni said.
Asked by moderator, the World Economic Forum (WEF) president Børge Brende, who is also Norway’s former Foreign Affairs Minister, what needed to be done to avoid conflicts that had ravaged certain parts of the continent, such as South Sudan, the Ugandan strongman said modern conflicts needed to be understood better.
“What can be done is to understand the causes of these conflicts. With war, generally, there are what we call ‘just’ wars and ‘unjust’ wars. Between 1952 and 1994, we would characterize some of the wars in Africa as ‘just’ wars because at that time, Africans were fighting for independence and in some cases, they were fighting for democracy,” he added.
And President Zewde insisted that more women ought to participate in bringing about peace in conflict areas and be part of the solution because they were usually the victims of conflicts.
“Women have to be part of our quest to peace. It has to be said for so long, why? They are the victims; they are those who have suffered most, women and children, and then, are we expecting to have a solution that will be sustainable, that will be encompassing the whole society if the very victims are not associated…? Women should not be portrayed as victims anymore, they are also…they should be part of the solution,” President Zewde said.
She argued that peace processes tended to flow better with women at the table.
“…And we have seen it in cases where they (women) have been at the table, things have moved better. And we should remind everybody that there is a collective decision, Resolution 1325, (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, on women, peace, and security), which asked women to be part of the solution. So, this is something that has not trickled down; we have to really make it happen at any level. Let’s have more women and test it because I think it will work to have women leaders. Most of the time, some of the quest for peace, the figure-heads that we see are women, but when we go to sharing power, they totally disappear so, we have to be careful of that. And I think at this time and age, we have to be serious on this issue,” said President Zewde, a career diplomat, who was unanimously elected Ethiopia’s President by members of the Federal Parliamentary Assembly last October.
While peace and stability are part of Africa’s Agenda 2063, tensions and conflicts continue to arise.