Provisional Programme of Work of the PSC for the Month of August 2021

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Date | 02 August, 2021

In August, Cameroon will be chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC). While two of the total sessions will be focusing on country specific issues, the remaining sessions will address various thematic topics. In addition to its substantive sessions, Council will also meet within the month to discuss the 2022 draft budget of the PSC and the department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS).

The first session of the month, scheduled to take place on 3 August, will be a consideration of report on the progress of implementation of the political transition in Chad by the African Union Support Mechanism (AUSM). The report is based on the Council’s request at its last session on Chad for the Chairperson of the Commission to report to it by the end of June on the work of the Support Mechanism and the progress in the implementation of the decisions taken by the Council during its 996th session, as well as developments in the country.

On 5 August, the second session for the month is planned to take place focusing on AU support to countries in transition and post-conflict, an agenda postponed from the previous month. At its 958th session dedicated to PCRD in Africa, Council emphasised the need to consistently identify, initiate and promote PCRD initiatives in order to allow rebuilding of resilience and to consolidate peace in countries emerging from conflict situations. This session will present an opportunity, among others, to follow up on this.

The third session scheduled for 6 August is on the PSC and Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security 2022 final draft budget. This signifies the increasing active role that the PSC has come to assume in the peace and security budget of the AU.

On 9 August PSC Committee of Experts is scheduled to meet to consider the priorities on utilisation of the AU Peace Fund. The last time Council convened a meeting on the AU Peace Fund was in 2018 at its 770th meeting, where it underscored some of the concrete steps that need to be taken in order to fully operationalise the fund. Since then, there was extensive deliberation on the issue of the AU Peace Fund at the 13th PSC retreat held in Mombasa in May 2021, within the context of its utilization for the priority activities of the Council. The main focus of this session is thus likely to follow up on the outcomes of the Conclusions of the Mombasa retreat, particularly the identification of priority activities by the Committee of Experts together with the PAPS Department. It is expected that the Committee of Experts would consider the specific types of peace and security initiatives that are planned to benefit from financing availed through the three thematic windows of the Peace Fund.

The next session of the PSC, planned to take place on 10 August, will be on the annual consultative meeting between the PSC and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). This will be the third consultative meeting between Council and the ACHPR since their inaugural meeting convened in 2019.

PSC’s next session planned to be held on 12 August will be dedicated to consideration of the mid-year report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on elections in Africa. The report will likely summarise the outcomes of elections in Africa conducted during or scheduled for the first and second quarters of 2021. This session also presents the Council the opportunity to discuss upcoming elections and what the AU can do to help member states stave off violence in context where there are already looming signs.

On 13 August, Council is scheduled to consider and adopt via email exchanges, the draft program of work for September 2021.

On 17 August, the PSC will receive a briefing from the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) on its activities in Africa. The session is to be convened within the context of Council’s regular engagement with the ICRC, in line with Art.17 of the PSC Protocol. Such briefing has been taking place almost every year since 2007, the last being at the 904th session of the Council convened on 16 January 2020. The President of ICRC is expected to brief members of the Council on ICRC’s activities in Africa highlighting works undertaken towards humanitarian assistance and the respect and promotion of international humanitarian law, as well as the challenges encountered by ICRC while discharging its tasks.

On 19 August, Council may convene a ministerial level meeting, to consider the activities of the African Union Border Programme (AUBP). This meeting comes at the backdrop of the statutory commemoration of the 11th edition of the African Border Day by the Council on 7 June 2021, which was convened in the context of the implementation of the AUBP. It is expected that the AU Commission will present a progress report on the Implementation of the AUBP since March 2020, highlighting the major developments in the implementation of the Program at the national, regional and continental levels and its contribution towards promoting peace and security on the continent, as well as its role in facilitating regional and continentalintegration. One of the major breakthrough likely to be highlighted in this regard is the launch of a Continental Strategy for Better Integrated Border Governance.

On 24 August, PSC’s session will focus on proposed finalization and operationalization of the AU Humanitarian Agency. It is to be recalled that the Assembly of the AU in its Decision 604 of 30 January 2016 decided to establish an African Humanitarian Agency (AfHA) to ‘streamline humanitarian action on the continent’. With the aim to address the ever-growing humanitarian crisis in the continent, the agency is designed to serve as part and parcel of the new humanitarian architecture adopted by the AU as enshrined in the Common African Position on Humanitarian Effectiveness in January 2016. In addition to the discussion on the finalization of the instruments relating to the Agency and its operationalization, the session is expected to deliberate on ways to ensure complementarity and strong coordination with other mechanisms such as the Africa Risk Capacity, Africa CDC, and Special Emergency Assistance Fund (SEAF). The Council may also reflect on the different options that can be explored to realize the commitment taken by the AU to primarily fund the agency through Africa’s own resources in the spirit of Pan-Africanism.

The second annual consultative meeting between the PSC and the Peace and Security Organs of the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) is planned to take place on 26 August. It is to be recalled that at the inaugural meeting which took place in 2019, Council and Policy Organs of the various RECs/RMs reflected on issues relating to the division of labour on their decision-making processes as well as the need to have strengthened coordination between the regional and continental level in the implementation of the frameworks of African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and African Governance Architecture (AGA). In addition to following up on the implementation of the various decisions taken at the inaugural consultative meeting, members of the Council may also deliberate on some of the critical issues facing the PSC-RECs relations. The recent decision by Southern African heads of state to deploy a Southern African Development Community (SADC) mission to support Mozambique’s fight against violent extremists in its northern province could be among various developments that may be addressed at the upcoming consultative meeting.

On 31 August, Council may convene a ministerial session to celebrate and commemorate African amnesty month. The session is to be an open session convened in a hybrid format – partially virtual and partially physical. The commemoration of amnesty month has been regularised within Council’s thematic agenda items since 2017. While 2020 was the last year for the commemoration of the amnesty month in line with Assembly/AU/Dec.645(XXIX), the AU Assembly, at its 14th Extra Ordinary Session on Silencing the Guns, extended its commemoration for 10 years, from 2021 to 2030, in line with PSC’s recommendation at its 943rd session that the Assembly extends amnesty month for a further period aligned with the First Ten Year Implementation Plan (FTYIP) of Agenda 2063. The upcoming session hence offers the chance to reflect on how the coming ten years could be best utilised in order to address remaining challenges around surrender and collection of illicit weapons and in curbing the flow of illegal arms.

Although the date for the session is yet to be fixed, the PSC is expected to hold a session on the situation in Mali as well. Apart from the security situation in the country, it is expected to receive update on the transitional process since the PSC’s last session and on steps taken towards the restoration of constitutional order within the 18 months transitional period.

Council’s indicative programme of work for the month also indicates in footnote that a session could be convened to continue consideration of the report on the AMISOM Independent Assessment on the Future of AMISOM, at a date and time to be determined.


9002TH-Session

Mesfin

Date | 4 July, 2004

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PSC Session on Sustainable Peace in Africa and Implementation of Paragraph 15 of Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV)

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Date | 09 March, 2021

Tomorrow (09 March) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 984th session. In this first Heads of State and Government session of the PSC since February 2020, there are two agenda items that the session is envisaged to address. The first one will be on sustainable peace in Africa, which will have a particular focus on climate change and its impacts on peace and security on the continent. The second agenda item will be a follow up on the implementation of paragraph 15 of the decision on Silencing the Guns of the 14th Extraordinary summit, held at the level of Heads of State and Government (Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV)). According to PSC’s agenda for the 984th session, Council will also be addressing any other issues under ‘AOB’.

Opening remarks are expected to be delivered by H.E Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya and PSC Chairperson for March 2021; H.E Félix Tshisekedi, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Chairperson of the AU; and H.E Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission. The Representative of the UN Secretary General, as well as H.E Smail Chergui, Commissioner for Peace and Security, will also be making presentations with regards to both agenda items. In addition, a statement will be delivered by H.E Josefa Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture regarding the first agenda item with specific reference to climate change. In accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the PSC, on the second agenda item, the Heads of State of the two states concerned, namely His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of the Kingdom of Morocco and H.E Brahim Ghali, President of Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic, are expected to make statements. The AU Troika – DRC, Senegal and South Africa – are also expected to take active part in the discussions of both agenda items, along with all PSC Member States.

Since its first session on the issue of climate change and peace and security in Africa at its 585th session in 2016, the PSC has held a further four sessions focusing on this theme, namely the 660th, 708th, 774th and 828th sessions. The most recent previous PSC session of the 828th session had a focus on funding for climate change to contribute towards the maintenance of peace and security, in line with the African Adaptation Initiative (AAI) – an initiative launched with the aim of ensuring that Africa urgently adapts to the adverse effects of climate change. It is to be recalled that Council noted the inextricable linkage between climate change and peace and security.

Tomorrow’s discussion on climate change is expected to emphasise the serious implications of climate change on peacebuilding efforts in the continent, as well as its effects on socio-economic developments and emerging threats to security in Africa, such as terrorism. Despite contributing only 4 % of global carbon dioxide emissions, African countries carry nearly 60 percent of the double burden of climate change induced severe weather events and political fragility risks in the world. In this context, Sacko is expected to highlight how climate change induced environmental degradation and depletion of scarce resources affect food security, social cohesion and stability and how extreme weather events such as severe droughts, floods and cyclones increasingly threaten the security of people on the continent. The PSC, at its 901st session, stressing that natural disasters and climate change contribute to exacerbating existing tensions, called on states ‘to reinforce measures to address effects of climate change, environmental degradation and natural disasters, particularly in conflict-affected areas within the context of the AU Solemn Declaration to Silence the Guns in Africa by the Year 2020.’ Indeed, inter-communal clashes, exacerbated by the impacts of climate change, has become a major source of violence in Nigeria and in much of the Sahel in recent years. Having regard to the unavoidable interlinkage between climate change and peace and security, Council may call on Member States to contextualise climate change impacts in their national peacebuilding efforts and implementation of all relevant resolutions and instruments within the African peacebuilding architecture.

In addition to its climate change focused discussion, Council is also expected to reflect more broadly on steps required to ensure sustainability of peace on the continent. To that end, it may evaluate policy measures adopted at the international, regional and national levels in order to assess their effectivity in addressing the root causes of violence in Africa. The role the youth for maintaining peace and security on the continent, particularly in ensuring sustainability of efforts is also of considerable value and may be an area of reflection. The PSC may also reflect on finding ways to increase predictable financing of peacebuilding efforts in Africa, specifically, of those set under AU’s Silencing the Guns (STG) initiative and Agenda 2063.

The second agenda item is a follow up on the implementation of paragraph 15 of Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV). ‘Expressing deep concern over the escalating military tensions between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Republic that have developed in Al- Guerguerat, the narrow Buffer Strip in Western Sahara, leading to the violation of the 1991 Ceasefire Agreement’, the AU Assembly in that paragraph calls on the PSC to engage the Kingdom of Morocco and Sahrawi Republic to address the escalating military tension. According to the Assembly, this is critical ‘in order to prepare conditions for a new cease-fire and to reach a just and durable solution to the conflict, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in line with the relevant AU-UN decisions and resolutions and the objectives and principles of the Constitutive Act of the African Union.’ As observed in the information note for the session, the latest escalation of tension came about ‘when, on 13 November 2020, Moroccan forces entered the buffer strip of Al-Guerguerat to dismiss Polisario protesters,’ promoting the POLISARIO Front representing the SADR to announce that the incident involved violation of the ceasefire and marked an end to the ceasefire including Military Agreement 1.

In addition to these recent political and security concerns, the information note for the session identifies three issues relating to the situation. One of these is the humanitarian situation in the region, which has become a cause for heightened concern, especially in light of outbreak of covid-19 pandemic and humanitarian aid reduction. PSC is expected to express concern in that regard and appeal to the international community to mobilise support to address the humanitarian situation, particularly the plight of refugees in the region.

According to the information note for the session, the other issue is Illegal exploitation of natural resources by people who are not of Saharawi origin. In this respect, the information note states that, ‘Western Sahara, as non-self- governing territory ought to have its natural resources protected for the benefit of its own people, and the international community ought therefore to ensure this protection.’ The third area of concern is the human rights situation in the territory. On this as well, the information note states that ‘the situation of human rights need an independent, impartial and transparent monitoring’, while noting that ‘efforts to introduce a human rights component in the mandate of MINURSO have so far failed.’

Although it is a matter that falls within the mandate of the PSC, this is one of the most politically contentious issues. It is to be recalled that the AU Assembly at its July 2018 summit in Nouakchott decided to entrust the follow up of this issue to ‘an African mechanism comprising the AU Troika, namely the outgoing, the current and the incoming Chairpersons, as well as the Chairperson of the Commission, to extend effective support to the UN efforts’. As noted in the information note for this session, several efforts for convening of the inaugural AU Meeting of the Troika Mechanism on Western Sahara on the sidelines of the AU Summits in 2019 and 2020 ‘were never successful because of pressing commitments of the members and the attempt to have the meeting in February 2021 on the margins of the 34th ordinary session ‘was cancelled, again due to the non-availability of the other Troika members.’

Tomorrow’s session accordingly comes against the background of not only the emergence of new escalation of tension threatening the 1991 ceasefire but also such lack of progress to launch the Troika Mechanism of the July 2018 decision of the AU Assembly. Despite the fact that positions of revenant actors seem to remain entrenched, this session could thus serve as an opportunity for both salvaging the 1991 ceasefire and to create conditions for finding lasting solution for the situation. It remains to be seen whether this session will craft a process for a more active engagement on this issue and the modality for following up on this issue within the framework of the AU.

Within the broad theme of sustainable peace in Africa, the PSC may also discuss some of the most pressing conflict situations and threats to peace and security. This may include country specific conflict situations. It is to be recalled that at its 929th meeting, which had a focus on cessation of hostilities within the context of COVID-19, the PSC addressed itself to the conflict in northern Mozambique.

The outcome document of the session could be adopted in the form of a communiqué. In addition, the outcome of the first agenda item is expected to summarise key policy recommendations on opportunities, mechanisms and partnerships for sustaining peace. With respect to climate change and peace and security, the PSC may decide to have this as a standing agenda item and request the AU Commission to present report on how climate change affects peace and security in Africa and the ways in which climate issues can be taken into account across the peace and security cycle of the AU including conflict prevention, management, resolution and post conflict reconstruction and development. It could also reiterate previous PSC decisions including those relating to preparedness and funding for climate adaptation. Council is expected to adopt a report highlighting the ways towards operationalising peacebuilding approaches, which would direct current and future initiatives aimed at implementing approaches for sustaining peace. On implementation of paragraph 15 of the Ext/Assembly/AU/Dec.1(XIV), the PSC may express concern about the recent flareup of conflict and call for the need to address ‘the causes of the violation of the cease fire and military agreement number one in Guergueret which prompted the resumption of the war’. The PSC may also underscore the need for the protection of the resources of the non-self-governing territory for the benefit of its own people, for the parties to uphold their obligations for protecting human rights and for the international community to address the humanitarian situation. Reference may also be made to the need for the reinvigoration of the engagement of the AU High Representative, to holding consultations for the return of the AU Observer Mission to Laayoune, in order to facilitate operational coordination with the UN and to previous decisions calling on the parties to engage in direct and serious talks without preconditions under the auspices of the AU and the UN.


Briefing on the situation in The Comoros

Mesfin

Date | 01 June, 2021

Tomorrow (01 June) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is set to convene the first session of the month to receive. The session will be on the situation in the Comoros.

The session is set to commence with the opening remarks of the PSC Chairperson of the month, Burundi’s Permanent Representative to the AU, Joel Nkurbagaya. The AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye, is also expected to deliver a remark. The AU High Representative for Silencing the Guns, Ramtana Lamamra, who served as envoy, may also brief the Council. The Representative of Comoros is also expected to make a statement as the country concerned.

This session comes amid heightened political tension in the Union of Comoros (UoC) after opposition groups called for nationwide protests this May. At the heart of the protests is frustrations about the change that the incumbent president, Azali Assoumani, unleashed to reconstitute the political system. Opposition groups reportedly demanded the restoration of the rotating presidential system- a power sharing formula that alternate power every five years among the three islands making the UoC and to that end the resignation of the president. The rotating presidential system, scraped under the 2018 constitution adopted in a referendum boycotted by the opposition, had been in place since 2001.

The UoC has not featured in the agenda of the Council since the last time it considered the situation in the country in September 2015, although it has remained under AU’s watch. Since July 2018, the AU Commission Chairperson issued at least three statements (29 July 2018, 16 October 2018, and 29 March 2019) in light of deteriorating political situations. Based on the report of the PSC on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa, the AU Assembly also considered the Comoros during its 33rd Ordinary Session held from 9-10 February 2020. At that session, the Assembly expressed the readiness of AU to ‘continue its facilitation role in the Comoros, with a view to strengthening and consolidating social cohesion’; and in this respect, the Assembly encouraged the PSC and the AU Commission to ‘continue to support the Comoros in its efforts to advance political dialogue’.

As the demand of protesters highlight, the resurgence of the crisis in the Comoros is not an isolated event but recurrence of longstanding institutional crisis and political polarization. At the roots of the crisis is a contestation over centralization and greater autonomy for the islands that make up the UoC. The archipelago consists of three main islands: Grande Comere, Anjouan, and Moheli plus Mayotte, an island that France considers as its oversee territory, although Comoros lays claim over it.

The political instability in the Comoros, which resulted in about 20 coupe or attempted coups since the archipelago’s independence from France and the emergence of separatism in the islands of Anjouan and Moheli, has been contained through the 2001 OAU facilitated Fomboni Framework Agreement. The rotational presidential system that the agreement established, entrenched in the 2001 Constitution, helped address the demands for autonomy while preserving the territorial integrity of the Union. This political arrangement is credited for the relative stability that reigned in the Comoros over the years. It is worth noting that the AU Summit in Noukchott in July 2018 attributes the ‘peaceful environment enjoyed by the Comorian people’ after 2001 to the Fomboni Agreement and the 2001 constitution, hence underscoring the need for upholding them.

For the forces of centralization (particularly political elites from Grande Comore), the rotational system of presidency creates discontinuities in policies and practice. More importantly, the rotational system gives equal opportunity to the three islands to lead the Union despite a significant variation of population size among the islands.

In 2018, President Azali Assoumani, who came to power in 2016, sought to implement changes to the political system. Despite the political tension that this move reignited, President Assoumani unveiled a controversial constitution, removing the single term limit and the rotating presidency, for referendum. Political oppositions boycotted the referendum and tension flared up in Comoros as Assoumani’s move was not only viewed as unconstitutional power grab but also considered as a reversal to the political settlements reached in 2001. On 29 July 2018, just a day before the planned referendum, the Chairperson of AU Commission issued a statement expressing his concerns over the ‘prevailing tension and differences among political stakeholders’ and urged for inclusive dialogue.

The abolition of the rotating presidential system has stocked anger among Anjouan natives who were the next in line to take the helm by 2021. It is against the background of the contested process of the change of the Constitution and the expectation of the Anjouan to hold the Presidency under the 2001 constitution that the recent protests and political tension erupted. It is worth recalling that the PSC, at its 545th session held on 21 September 2015, warned that any attempt to ‘call into question the principle of the rotating presidency’ is likely to ‘raise tension’.

Another aspect of the situation in Comoros expected to attract tomorrow’s session relate to the elections held in 2019 and 2020. Based on the 2018 constitution, whose legitimacy is contested on the part of the opposition, Comoros held presidential and legislative elections in March 2019 and January 2020, respectively. Against the background of simmering tension and wide-ranging crackdown following the 2018 referendum, the first round of presidential election was held on 24 March 2019. Although electoral officials announced a provisional result declaring Assoumani a winner with 60% vote on 26 March, the result was immediately rejected by 12 opposition candidates on the ground of widespread irregularity and fraud, and violent protest erupted. International election observers from the AU, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and the East Africa Standby Force (EASF) reported irregularities that marred the credibility of the elections. The post-election violence prompted the Chairperson of the Commission to issue a statement on 29 March of the same year, calling for restraint as well as urging all political actors to quickly engage in an inclusive dialogue.

Assoumani’s party, Convention for the Renewal of the Comoros (CRC), also achieved a landslide victory in the legislative and municipal elections, which took place in January 2020 under intense political climate. The AU Observer Mission, in its preliminary statement on 21 January 2020, indicated that the election was marked by lack of excitement among voters because of the opposition boycott.

The constitutional referendum as well as the general elections, instead of leading the Comoros to a durable peace, raised the spectre of instability in that country. As power is consolidating in the hands of the incumbent President who is from the Grande Comore, it is also feared that this may revive the separatist sentiment in the Islands of Anjouan and Moheli.

The socioeconomic conditions prevailing in the Comoros may also interest members of the Council. The low economic performance over the past few years, mainly due to the 2019 Tropical Cyclone (TC) Kenneth and COVID-19 outbreak, are likely to compound the political situation. In April 2019, Tropical Cyclone struck the archipelago, which left the country devastated. According to one report, more than 345,000 out of its total population of 800,000 were affected by the passage of the cyclone, also resulting in the contraction of the economy from 3.2% in 2018 to 2.0% in 2019. In tomorrow’s session, the statement from the representative of the Comorian government is likely to touch upon the government’s initiative to address economic challenges, notably the 2030 Emerging Comoros Plan—a national strategy that aspire to move the archipelago into the ranks of upper middle-income countries by 2030.

With these worrying developments in the background, the PSC is expected to deliberate on ways and means that would prevent further escalation and bring political actors back to the negotiating table. In this respect, one avenue worth considering for the Council is the reactivation of an inclusive Inter-Comorian dialogue with the view to help Comorians resolve all pending issues peacefully. It is to be recalled that AU sent its High Representative Ramtane Lamamra in 2018 to facilitate the inter-Comorian dialogue, which came to a halt in October of that year after few weeks of talk.

The expected outcome is a communique. The Council is expected to express its concern over the deteriorating political situation, recalling concerns that it expressed previously about the risks of tampering with the power sharing system of governance that helped Comoros achieve relative stability. The Council is likely to urge both the government and political stakeholders to refrain from acts that may escalate tension, and further call for the immediate resumption of the inter-Comorian dialogue to find a negotiated solution to their differences and preserve the hard-won gains achieved over the years. Beyond expressing its readiness to facilitate the dialogue, the Council may request the Chairperson of the AU Commission to use all the available tools to help Comorian return back to the negotiating table, building on the earlier intervention of High Representative Lamamra. As part of revamping its escalation prevention and conflict resolution efforts as a follow up to the AU Assembly decision of February 2020, the PSC may request the AU Commission to establish an AU Support political mission for the Comoros. On the socio-economic developments, the Council is expected to take note and welcome the government’s 2030 Emerging Comoros Plan which intends to address the economic challenges, as well as the convening of the 2019 Paris Conference of Partners for the Development of the Comoros with the view to supporting government’s economic plan. In this regard, the Council may further call on donors and partners to honour their pledges made at the conference.


Provisional Program of Work for the Month of January 2021

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Date | 01 January, 2021

Senegal assumes the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of January. As indicated in the provisional program of work, some three substantive sessions are set to take place in the month including two region specific sessions. The PSC is expected to conduct all of its meetings in January through video teleconference (VTC).

On 12 January, the PSC will consider and adopt the draft PSC program of work for February 2021, which will be circulated to all PSC members via email for their comments.

On 14 January, the PSC will conduct its first substantive meeting of the year to consider the draft report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the activities of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF). It is to be recalled that the PSC requested the Commission, in coordination with the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) Secretariat, to ‘regularly update Council on the situation in the Lake Chad Basin’ during its previous meeting on MNJTF at its 898th session held on November 28, 2019. The session will take stock of the progresses made by the MNJTF and the member states of the LCBC plus Benin in the fight against Boko Haram since its previous session. As the MNJTF’s mandate expires on January 31, the Council is also expected to renew its mandate in light of the continued security threat that Boko Haram poses despite MNJTF’s contribution to contain thescale of the threat that the terrorist group poses in the region.

On 20 January, the PSC will commence its consideration of the Report of the PSC on its activities and the state of the peace and security in Africa. The report, which covers the activities carried out by the PSC in 2020, will be submitted to the Assembly of the Union in the upcoming summit slated for February 2021, pursuant to article 7(q) of the PSC protocol.

The following day, on 21 January, the PSC will receive briefing on the situation in Great Lakes Region. It has been a while since the PSC convened session on the region though it dedicated one meeting in January 2020. This session is, therefore, expected to afford PSC the opportunity to assess recent political and security developments in the region, most notably- the upsurge of armed conflicts and the national election in CAR held in December; and the persistent attacks in Eastern DRC and the collapse of the coalition of political groups and the resulting political crisis in the DRC.

On January 27, the Council will continue with its consideration of the report of the PSC on its activities and the state of peace and security in Africa. This is expected to be the final consideration of the report and the PSC is expected to adopt it.

The last session of the month, scheduled for 28 January is dedicated for the preparation of a PSC retreat. The date of the retreat and specific agenda are yet to be set, although the annual indicative program for 2021 makes reference of convening a retreat in May on working methods and challenges in the discharge of the Council’s mandate. It is to be recalled that the PSC decided to review its working methods regularly during its 85th session held on August 8, 2007. The disruption caused by Covid-19 has prevented the PSC from holding a retreat in 2020.

In addition to these agenda items, the provisional program of work indicates in footnote meetings of the PSC Committee of Experts to consider the PSC report for which the date is yet to be confirmed. The event is likely to happen ahead of the timeline slated for the PSC to consider and adopt its report to the Assembly.


Consideration of the Fact Finding Mission on Chad

Mesfin

Date | 10 May, 2021

Tomorrow (10 May) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to convene its 994th session to consider the findings of the Fact- finding Mission on Chad.

This first session of the month is set to begin with the opening remark of the PSC Chairperson for May, Algeria’s Permanent Representative to the AU, Salah Francis Elhamdi. The AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, who co-led the delegation of the Fact-finding Mission, is expected to present on the findings of the Mission. Similarly, Djibouti’s Permanent Representative to the AU, Mohammed Idriss Farah, Chairperson of the PSC for April who co-led the mission is also scheduled to present on the mission. It is also envisaged that the representative of Chad, as the country concerned, will make a statement.

Tomorrow’s session is a follow up to the emergency session on Chad the PSC had at its 993rd meeting held on 22 April 2021. In that meeting, the Council requested the AU Commission to send a ‘high- powered Fact-Finding Mission to Chad’. It is to be recalled that the emergency session was convened after the military announced seizure of power after the death of the late President Idriss Deby Itno on 20 April, reportedly from the wounds sustained while battling rebel groups. A Transitional Military Council, established under the leadership of Deby’s son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, suspended the Constitution and dissolved the national Assembly. The military takeover took place in clear contravention to the terms of Chad’s Constitution which provides that in the event of vacation of power, the president of the National Assembly should be appointed as interim president and lead the country to elections within 90 days.

As highlighted in our previous ‘Insight on the PSC’ for the emergency session on Chad at its 993rd session, practice of the PSC takes two approaches during unconstitutional change of government. The first is the automatic application of the Lomé Declaration and article 7(1) (g) of the PSC Protocol, resulting in the immediate suspension of the country from AU activities. Since coming into operation in March 2004 and until its 993rd session on Chad, the PSC invoked its Article 7(1)(g) power in fifteen (15) instances.1 In all the 15 instances except that of Cote d’Ivoire in December 2010, the PSC designated each instance as constituting ‘coup d’état’ or ‘unconstitutional change of government’. The PSC also condemned or rejected the ‘coup d’état’ or ‘unconstitutional change ofgovernment’ in each instance. Additionally, with the exception of three cases,2 in all other twelve (12) cases the PSC applied the Lomé Declaration’s stipulation for automatic suspension of the country concerned, with the PSC, in some cases, such as its 384th session, stating that AU instruments ‘provide for automatic implementation of specific measures whenever unconstitutional change of government occurs.’

The forcible seizure of power by the military in Chad is the first case in which the PSC failed to name the act as a coup d’état and condemn or reject it. This is in stark departure from both the clear terms of AU normative instruments including the Lomé Declaration of 2000 and the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (2007) and the practice it has set over the years, at least in two major ways. On one hand, the Council stopped short of characterizing the military takeover in Chad as ‘unconstitutional change of government’ or a ‘coup d’état’. On the other hand, the Council neither suspended Chad from AU activities pursuant to its Protocol and the Lomé Declaration nor did it follow the Burkina Faso and Sudan approach that gave 15 days ultimatum for the military to transfer power to a civilian authority.

The PSC decided to task the AU Commission to dispatch ‘a high-powered Fact-Finding Mission’, with the participation of the PSC, to engage with the Chadian authorities on all issues relating to the situation there, particularly to support the investigation into the killing of the late President and ascertain the efforts to restore constitutionalism, and report back to the Council within two weeks. In pursuit of this, the Fact-finding Mission, led by the AU Commissioner for PAPS, along with the PSC Chairperson for the month of April (Permanent Representative of Djibouti), was deployed to Chad from 29 April to 06 May 2021. The delegation involved the participation of the representatives of five PSC member states from the five regions of the continent (Cameroon from Central, Djibouti from East, Egypt from the North, Ghana from West and Lesotho from Southern). The DRC in its capacity as Chairperson of the Union, and an officer of the AU Legal Counsel were also part of the delegation.

According to a statement released by AU Commission on 29 April, the Fact-Finding Mission would engage with Chadian authorities and stakeholders mainly to ‘get first-hand information’ on the unfolding political and security situation as well as explore ways to facilitate ‘a swift return to constitutional order’, while at the same time preserving security and territorial integrity of that country. The mission held meetings with a wide range of actors including the President of the Military Council, Head of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, religious leaders of Chad, President of the Supreme Court of Chad and President of the Assembly of Chad. The delegation of the mission also received a briefing from the AU Commission Chairperson in N’Djamena.

One consideration that seems to carry tremendous weight within the PSC as reflected in its communique of the 993rd session is the security context in Chad and its neighbourhood. Some of the developments that merit attention during tomorrow’s session include the intense political climate after a deadly protest broke out in the two largest cities (N’Djamena and Moundou), demanding a return to constitutional order. According to media reports, military crackdown left six people dead and some 700 people arrested. Also of concern is the fight with rebel group, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad, otherwise known by its French acronym as FACT, in northern part of the country, some 300Kms north of the capital. This is despite the rebel’s overtures for a ceasefire and dialogue. The military council ruled out any possibility to sit down with the rebels for negotiation nor mediation, but vowed to bring them to justice. Another consideration for PSC members is the fact that Chad is a key player as a major military actor in the efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism in both the Sahel and Lake Chad Basin regions.

Of course, these concerns about security and stability are not completely unique to Chad. These are threats that Chad shares with its two neighboring countries, Sudan and Mali, that also experienced military seizure of power in similar context. Indeed, experience shows that overemphasizing the security dimension leads to risk of the military considering it as a license to justify seizure of power in complete disregard of the constitutional process of the country concerned. While security represents a significant consideration, the experience of Mali and Sudan also shows that it cannot dispense with the need for upholding constitutional order and the application of the AU norm on unconstitutional changes of government.

In terms of the task of the Fact-finding Mission for ‘ascertaining’ and ‘facilitating’ swift return to constitutional order, the shape that the transitional process has taken shows no indication of a handing over of power to civilian authority. Instead, indications are that the Military Council is going to stay around. The Military Council, without any meaningful engagement with other stakeholders, adopted a Transitional Charter, indicating the continuation of the suspension of the Constitution of the country. This Charter invests supreme authority in the Military Council, with the Chairman of the Military Council holding enormous power including the appointment of both the Transitional Government headed by the Prime Minister and the members of National Transitional Council. It is to be recalled that the PSC has already expressed its ‘grave concern’ over the military takeover and urged the handing over of political power to civilian authorities in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Constitution of Chad, at its 993rd session.

The Military Council named a government comprising 40 ministers and deputy ministers where oppositions are given some portfolios. For instance, the former Prime Minister turned an opposition and a presidential runner-up in the latest election, Albert Pahimi Padacke, has been appointed to head the transitional government as an interim Prime Minister. The newly created Ministry of Reconciliation and Dialogue as well as the Justice Ministry are also portfolios handed to the opposition. While some of this move received positive response from some oppositions including the longtime opposition figure Saleh Kebzabo, the fact remains that under the Transitional Charter, ultimate power is held by the Military Council. Thus, these measures that the Military Council took represent no progress towards return to civilian rule within the framework of Chadian Constitution as stipulated in the communiqué of PSC’s 993rd meeting.

The other issue on which the Fact-finding Mission is expected to update the PSC is the investigations around the circumstances of the death of the late President Deby.

The expected outcome is a communique. On the issue of the transfer of power to civilian authorities as per the terms of PSC’s 993rd meeting, the PSC may follow one of the two options. The first is to endorse the Military Council’s plan for the transition. This would be a direct violation of the AU instruments including the PSC’s Protocol and bring to an end AU’s policy of zero tolerance to military coups. The other option is to apply, as it did for Mali in August 2020, the AU instruments, declare the military council’s action a military coup, suspend Chad from participation in the AU activities and set out clear terms for Military Council’s handover of power to civilian transitional authority with the participation of various Chadian stakeholders for lifting suspension. The Council is expected to reiterate its deep concern about the increasing spate of violence and rebellion and the attendant heightened insecurity and the increasing operational tempo of rebels, foreign terrorist fighters and mercenaries, as well as the proliferation of illicit weapons, as consequences of, among others, the conflict in Libya. The PSC is also expected to express concern about the challenges facing Chad’s security and stability and the necessity of forestalling the transitional process from leading to the destabilization of the country, and the weakening of its role in the fight against terrorism in the region. In this respect, the PSC, as it did in previous instances relating to Chad, may also express its rejection of the attempt of the rebel groups for taking power by force and call for peaceful means for resolving the fighting with rebel groups. The Council is also likely to express its regrets over the incidents of violence on protesters and call on all parties to show utmost restraint and the de facto authorities to respect human rights as enshrined in different regional and international human rights instruments.


1Togo (2005), Mauritania (2005), Mauritania (2008), Guinea (2008), Madagascar (2009), Niger (2010), Cote d’Ivoire (2010), Mali (2012), Guinea Bissau (2012), Central African Republic (2013), Egypt (2013), Burkina Faso (2014), Burkina Faso (2015), Sudan (2019) and Mali (2020).

2The first instance in which the PSC did not activate automatic suspension after declaring the occurrence of a coup d’état or unconstitutional change of government was at its 164th session held on 24 December 2008 relating to Guinea. But this lasted only for five days. Thus, at its 165th session held on 29 December 2008, after the visit of the AU Commission Chairperson to the country on 26 December, the PSC suspended Guinea from participation in AU activities. The other instances are the cases of Burkina Faso in November 2014 and Sudan in April 2019 where the PSC set a 15-day deadline for transfer of power after declaring the seizure of power by the military a coup d’état and condemning it.


MAKING AFRICA’S VOICE MATTER IN THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL: BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN AMBITION AND REALITY IN THE ROLE OF THE AFRICAN THREE MEMBERS OF THE UNSC

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24 | March, 2021

Following its 983rd session held on 4 March 2021, the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) adopted a decision on the unified role of the African three elected members (A3) of the United Nations (UN) Security Council (UNSC). The content of the decision identified both existing best practices for consolidation and new proposals on the workings of the A3 and the coordination with the PSC. Manifesting a renewed interest of the PSC for enhanced role of the A3, the outcome of the 983rd session of the PSC offers the basis for examining the ways of bridging the gap between the potential of the role of the A3 and the experience thus far in respect of representing Africa’s voice through collective action in the UNSC

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CRITICAL APPRAISAL OF THE AGENDA OF SILENCING THE GUNS IN AFRICA

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Date | December, 2020

INTRODUCTION

Silencing the Guns is one of the flagship projects of Africa’s development blue print of Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU). It provides the overarching objective guiding the efforts of the organization towards achieving a peaceful and secure Africa which is the foundation for the implementation the development and regional integration plans of the continent.

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CAN THE AU DO MORE TO SAFEGUARD THE HORN OF AFRICA FROM THE FALL OUT OF THE CRISES IN THE MIDDLE EAST?

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Date |  July, 2017

INTRODUCTION

As the Horn of Africa gets dangerously entangled in the unfolding crisis between Saudi Arabia (and its allies) and Qatar, this policy brief examines why and how the African Union (AU) needs to pursue the implementation of its security architecture in the coast of greater Horn of Africa. It in particular looks at the case for AU to promote a collective security regime in this part of Africa.

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PEACE AND SECURITY COUNCIL 35TH MEETING

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Date | 25 JULY, 2005

ECLARATION ON THE SITUATION IN GUINEA-BISSAU

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU), at its 35th meeting, held on 25 July 2005, discussed the prevailing situation in Guinea-Bissau.

The Council firmly condemned the attacks perpetrated by armed elements on civil and military infrastructures on 16 July 2005 in Bissau.

The Council welcomed the efforts deployed by the current Chairperson of the AU, President Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as by the ECOWAS. The Council also congratulated President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal for his mediation efforts that brought together the three leading candidates contesting in the first round of the presidential elections held on 19 June 2005, and which resulted in Kumba Yala’s acceptance of the results of the elections, thus helping to reduce tension in Guinea-Bissau.

The Council further expressed delight at the holding of the second round of the presidential elections in a relatively calm atmosphere, on 24 July 2005. The Council urged the candidates to the second round of the elections, namely Joao Bernardo Vieira and Malam Bacai Sanha, and their followers to refrain from any action likely to disturb the electoral process, to accept the results in conformity with the commitments made by both candidates, and to submit all electoral complaints to the appropriate mechanisms.