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Conflicts and egotism of leaders hamper development
September 5, 2017, 3:28 pm

Selfishness is an outdated attitude that all African leaders should get rid of and they need to respect their countries' constitutions on term limits, said former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa.

The former president was speaking at the annual African Leadership Forum (ALF) 2017, which was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, on 24 and 25 August. The Forum brings together former African Heads of State, as well as leaders from all sectors of the economy to discuss pressing issues pertaining to sustainable development of the continent.

This year’s Forum, held under the theme of ‘Peace and Security for an Integrated, United and Sustainable Africa, was co-chaired by Mr. Mkapa and Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa. The Forum focused on the complex dynamics that have caused continuous conflicts on the continent and discussed means to practically and realistically navigate through conflicts to ensure lasting peace in Africa.

Peace and security in Africa is of great concern not only because of the fatal consequences that result from its absence, but because much of Africa will continue to remain poor without the growth and development brought about by sustained peace and security. Moreover, an absence of recurring regional conflicts was critical to gain the stability needed to achieve the continent’s goals of effective integration, unity and sustainable development.

"We need brave African leaders to address issues of marginalized democracies that subject Africans to deaths and turmoil. Leaders should consult different cadres before coming to a certain decision," said the former Tanzanian leader.

He warned that unless African leaders speak with one voice and take bold decisions to solve conflicts in countries like South Sudan and Libya, instability would continue affecting the continent, sometimes creating rooms to loot resources from the affected countries. The former president said some conflicts have remained unsolved for years due to African leaders being disorganized and lacking coordination among themselves.

Nigerian former leader Olusegun Obasanjo said that unless African leaders took the bull by its horns, more conflicts might continue emerging in the continent, citing efforts by African leaders to contain Charles Taylor in Liberia for reference.

His argument was supported by former President of Tunisia Mohamed Marzouki who insisted that countries facing conflict in Africa should always resolve to hold national dialogue meetings, which bring together all cadres, including the opposition and other parties to the conflicts. "If convened before eruption of catastrophes, national dialogues put conflicting parties at mutual understanding. The meetings should not wait for issues to get out of control," he warned.


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