Intolerance, inequalities and the land issue - major threats to peace in Africa

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Colleta Dewa

Johannesburg - Leaders from across the African continent, who gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the African Leaders of Peace Summit last week said the continent needs more tolerant political leaders if peace is to prevail.

The Peace Summit marked the 100th anniversary celebration of the births of former South African President Nelson Mandela and the human rights activist Albertina Sisulu.

Addressing delegates during the summit, former president of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, emphasised that inequality in the sharing of resources and land is the biggest threat to stability in Africa.

Chissano added that though there are few coups that threaten democracy, tempers will always be high until inequality is addressed.

“Inequality with regards to the distribution of resources and land are a major threat to peace, hence the need for governments to carefully address such issues.

“Today I have heard about the cessation of war and that everyone wants peace, not war. But there is one more thing I would like to add, and that is: cessation of war is not possible without the cessation of individual and familial conflicts. And our children need to receive peace education and learn the culture of peace,” said Chissano.

He was among ministers and speakers of parliament from countries including Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland who attended the summit.

Veronica Nataniel Macamo, Mozambique’s President of National Assembly, expressed hope that the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) has the potential to achieve everlasting solution to conflicts the world over.

“I believe that peace can be achieved through the Declaration of Peace and Cessation of War (DPCW) and hope that all nations will be able to attain peace not only for our future generations but in our current generation as well.”

Also present during the summit was Korean War veteran and peace advocate Man Hee Lee who spoke of his desire and quest for a conflict-free world.

“I have come to Africa to speak about the work of peace. Countless people have worked for peace on this planet, but how much peace do we have today.

“There will be no greater thing we could leave as a legacy to our future generations than to end war on this planet and create peace,” said Lee.

The event, which was co-hosted by the African Leaders of Peace Summit Organising Committee, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light, the International Women’s Peace Group, and the International Peace Youth Group, recalled the roles of the leaders for peace and security in Africa and suggested a plan for the implementation of the AU’s “Agenda 2063(1)”.

The organisers also explained that the purpose of the Summit was to awaken the leaders to their roles and achieve a peaceful Africa, in the midst of the recent political hiccups in Zimbabwe and the employment discrimination based upon the level of education or sex found in African society.

Prince Hlangusempi and Minister of Economics and Planning participated in the event as a special emissary of the King of eSwatini.

ESwatini and Seychelles signed a National Solidarity Statement for the Promotion of the DPCW as support for peace-building at a global framework.

The DPCW was drafted with the intention of promoting the respect of fundamental human rights and international law.

It is composed of 10 articles and 38 clauses, and offers such holistic principles as peaceful conflict resolution, promotion of friendly relations between states, freedom of religion, and the spreading of a culture of peace, for the advancement of peace in the nations and civil society.

The core values are freedom, justice, peace, security, inter-generational solidarity and the promotion of social progress.

 

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