Open Session on Promoting Constitutionalism, Democracy and Inclusive Governance to Strengthen Peace, Security and Stability in Africa

2022

Date | 27 January, 2022

Tomorrow (27 January), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold its 1061st meeting. The open session will take place under the theme ‘Promoting Constitutionalism, Democracy and Inclusive Governance as a Means of Strengthening Peace, Security and Stability in Africa’.

Following opening remarks by Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month, Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye is expected to make a statement. Emma Birikorang Deputy Director of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre (KAIPTC) and Paul Simon, the East Africa Regional Representative and Representative to AU of the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) are also expected to deliver presentations. Representatives of the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) as well as members of the international community represented in Addis Ababa are also expected to participate in the session.

Tomorrow’s session comes against the backdrop of the resurgence in unconstitutional changes of government (UCG) and related challenging political transitions witnessed in the continent throughout 2021. During the year, the continent has seen the occurrence of four successful coups (in Chad, Guinea, Mali and Sudan). As 2022 commences, another coup has taken place in Burkina Faso following the detention of President Kabore by mutinous soldiers. In light of this concerning trend, the upsurge in UCG formed part of the key issues addressed at the Eight High-Level Seminar on Peace and Security in Africa convened from 2 to 4 December 2021 in Oran, Algeria. As a key recommendation, participants of the seminar proposed the review of the African Governance Architecture (AGA) as well as the 2000 Lomé Declaration on Unconstitutional Change of Government, in order to ensure that these frameworks are more suitable to the contemporary peace and security landscape of the continent. The sessions is expected to reflect on the concerning resurgence in UCG and its implication on constitutionalism and democracy as well as its impact on peace and security in Africa.

The AU already has developed various norms promoting democracy and constitutionalism and banning UCG in the form of key instruments including the AU Constitutive Act, the PSC Protocol, the 2000 Lomé Declaration, the Ezulwini Framework, the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Banjul Charter). There is however lack of consolidated approach in the implementation of these instruments. Further to condemning UCG and imposing applicable sanctions whenever they take place, it is important to ensure that the underlying root causes which lay a fertile ground for the occurrence of coups are also addressed. As observed in various previous cases, some of the key underlying causes of UCG in Africa relate to democratic deficits, mainly the extension of term limit through contested constitutional amendments and the absence of transparency and credibility in the conduct of elections. The importance of adhering to basic democratic principles as a way of averting the risk of UCG is also clearly captured in the 2000 Lomé Declaration. One of the points worth reflecting at tomorrow’s session is therefore the importance of adopting a consolidated approach in implementing AU norms on democracy and constitutionalism in order to prevent the very occurrence of UCG by addressing the root cause as well.

Over the years, the PSC has convened various sessions dedicated to the theme of UCG and popular uprising which are essential in informing tomorrow’s session. The latest of these sessions was the 871st session convened on 22 August 2019, where the PSC noted governance issues as one of the underlying root causes of conflicts and crises in Africa. Studies also indicate that coups experienced in Africa between 1960 and 2000 have had devastating impact on the continent’s stability. Another important PSC session on the topic was the 432nd session convened on 29 April 2014 which served to adopt some key decisions including the establishment of a sub-committee which could undertake an in-depth review of AU’s relevant normative frameworks to develop a consolidated approach in responding to UCG and popular uprising in Africa. Tomorrow’s session may serve to follow up on the progress in the establishment of this sub-committee.

In addition to ensuring coherence in the implementation of AU norms on democracy and constitutionalism, it is also important to address how the AU should approach cases of popular uprising. The AU is yet to develop a norm on popular uprising and elaborate its correlation with UCG. It is noteworthy that while condemning violent uprisings, the PSC has at various occasions affirmed the legitimacy of peaceful popular uprisings. For instance, at its 432nd session the council underscored some of the circumstances which would justify popular uprising, underscoring the oppressive nature of regimes; systematic abuse of human rights; and failure of governments to fulfil their responsibilities as the conditions which could trigger “the right of the people to peacefully express their will against oppressive systems”. In responding to the military takeover of power in Sudan in 2019 at its 840th session, the PSC also made a clear distinction between its condemnation of the military’s power grab and its recognition of the aspiration of the Sudanese people “to the opening of the political space in order to be able to democratically design and choose institutions that are representative and respectful of freedoms and human rights”.

Another critical issue which warrants the Council’s attention is the growing concern over security challenges, particularly terrorist insurgency and the lack of effective government response which has in multiple cases served as the central justification given by militaries for staging coups. Notwithstanding the manipulation of such justification as a means of legitimising suspension of constitutions, there is indeed a growing frustration over the lack or inadequate government response to security challenges. In addition to its immediate security related impact therefore, the absence of an effective government response to security threats endangers not only the stability of a country but also democratic rule. Hence, as the rate and complexity of security threats in the continent increase, governments role remains important in the way it handles and responds to such threats.

Incorporating indicators related to human rights and governance within AU’s continental early warning system could also be an important aspect which the Council may consider. Closely monitoring situations in individual member States which are at risk of experiencing disruptions to constitutional rule could play a crucial role in averting UCG by setting the stage for the deployment of AU’s preventive diplomacy. Lack of inclusive governance, political confrontations, highly contested elections, constitutional amendments to extend presidential term limits, and grave violations of human rights and democratic principles are some of the major warning signs of disruption to democratic rule as well as peace and security in Africa.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communiqué. The Council may condemn all acts which endanger constitutionalism and democracy and threaten the continent’s peace and security. It may express concern over the increasing trend of UCG in Africa and it may underline the importance of enforcing and advancing the relevant AU norms to curb this trend. In this respect, it may urge all AU member States to sign, ratify and implement relevant AU norms on human rights and democracy. It may also follow up on the implementation of its previous decisions on the theme, particularly the request made at its 432nd session for the AU Commission to finalise the draft AU framework on responses to popular uprisings and to submit the draft for Council’s consideration. Council may also request the AU Commission to propose modalities for the review of AGA and the Lomé Declaration as well as other relevant AU instruments including the Banjul Charter.


Briefing on the situation in South Sudan

2022

Date | 25 January, 2022

Tomorrow (25 January,) the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is expected to hold a briefing session on the situation in South Sudan.

Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month, Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, is expected to make opening remarks. AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, may brief the Council. The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for South Sudan, Joram Biswaro, may also brief the Council. As per usual practice, the PSC may also receive the statements of the representative of South Sudan and the representative of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The Special Representative of the Secretary General Hanna Tetteh may also make a statement.

The last time the Council met to discuss South Sudan was in April 2021 following its field mission to the country in March 2021. The PSC adopted a communique welcoming the steady progress in the implementation of the R-ARCSS and urging R-TGoNU, among other things, to take all possible steps to mobilize the necessary resources for the implementation of the R-ARCSS, especially Chapter II relating to transitional security arrangements.

Since then, there has been limited progress across the different pillars of the peace agreement but also challenges that continue to persist. The permanent ceasefire continues to hold in spite of continued intercommunal violence. Important tasks related to the appointment of state assemblies have made progress after significant delays. Disagreements over how to divide parliamentary seats have also been resolved. The constitution-making process bill has been reviewed and adopted by the council of ministers. A roadmap has been developed and adopted to facilitate the implementation of tasks related to transitional justice and a technical Committee has been established to undertake national consultations on the establishment of the Commission for Truth, Healing and Reconciliation. Furthermore, President Salva Kiir decided to resume talks with the South Sudan Opposition Movement Alliance (SSOMA) in Rome under the auspices of the Community of Sant’Egido.

However, more than three years after the signing of the revitalized peace agreement, no tangible progress has been made in establishing the necessary unified forces, which is a key aspect of the peace agreement. According to the UN, the government attributes the delay to the arms embargo imposed against South Sudan and disagreements among signatory parties over the command-and-control structure and share ratio of the necessary unified forces. However, the reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (R-JMEC) underscores the need for the government to approve critical bills and avail the necessary resources to complete the transitional security arrangements.

What complicated the situation further is the split within SPLM-IO and the emergence of the Kitwang faction which has eroded trust and confidence in the peace process. The split within SPLA-IO led to deadly clashes between forces loyal to Vice President Riek Machar and those loyal to Kitwang faction led by General Simon Gatwech Dual and his deputy Johnson Olony. President Kiir designated his Presidential Advisor for National Security, Tut Gatluak, to negotiate with the Kitwang faction in Khartoum but SPLM-IO complained that this violates the peace agreement which prohibits the shifting of allegiance. Nevertheless, the Khartoum meeting between SPLM and the Kitwang faction led to the signing of two separate agreements which, according to media reports, deal with integration of forces loyal to the Kitwang faction into the South Sudanese army with a general amnesty and the settlement of local land disputes.

South Sudan is expected to hold elections in 2023 marking the end of its fragile political transition. The reconstituted transitional national assembly (TNLA) has been slow to operationalize and this has impacted the adoption of critical bills related to constitution-making process, election, public financial reform and others. The constitutional bill, which has already been approved by the Council of Ministers, is yet to be endorsed by the TNLA. This is considered to be a very critical task which paves the way for the country to hold elections in 2023. Delays in the establishment of the TNLA standing committees, which are supposed to consider these bills, was said to be the main obstacle. On January 3rd, the Speaker of TNLA announced the appointment of chairpersons and deputies of the various committees, which hopefully contributes to expediting the legislative process. The coming one year is going to be decisive in making concrete progress in implementing the peace agreement and set the stage for the elections.

The government has already called for international support to hold elections. However, due to other crisis situation in the neighborhood including in Ethiopia and Sudan, South Sudan is not getting the necessary international attention at the moment. Sudan is the current chair of IGAD and one of the guarantors of the revitalized peace agreement but it is undergoing a difficult transition which is facing a serious setback following the October 25 coup. Ethiopia, as previous chair of IGAD played an important role in facilitating the South Sudanese peace process however it is now embroiled in its own crisis. The regional dynamics has weakened IGAD and the leadership position of its key mechanisms tasked with overseeing the implementation of the South Sudanese peace agreement – RJMEC and CTSAMVM – remain vacant for quite some time. The AU Ad Hoc Committee, established to support IGAD, has not also been very active and there is a need to reactivate the committee to support of the South Sudanese peace process. Uganda, the other guarantor, is planning to host a South Sudan leader retreat in February and the expectation is that this will give renewed impetus to the implementation of the peace agreement.

The expected outcome is a communique. While recognizing some of the progress that has been made the PSC may express concern over the slow implementation of the peace agreement. It may urge the R-TGoNU to mobilize adequate the financial resources, for the implementation of the R-ARCSS, especially Chapter II relating to transitional security arrangements. The PSC may also call for the rapid and full operationalization of the TNLA. It may further underline the importance of expediting the legislative process to lay the foundation for the planned election in 2023. The PSC may reiterate it previous decision on the need to hold a transparent, democratic and credible election at the end of the transition period. It may also call on the international community to provide support for the implementation of R-ARCSS.


Briefing on the Situation in Sudan

2022

Date | 25 January, 2022

Tomorrow (25 January), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1059th session to receive a briefing on the situation in Sudan.

Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU and Chairperson of the PSC for the month, Amma Adomaa Twum-Amoah, is expected to make opening remarks. AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, may brief the Council, including in light of his recent visit to Sudan. The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission to the Sudan, Mohamed Belaiche, may also brief the Council. As per usual practice, the representatives of Sudan and Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are expected to deliver statements in their capacity as the concerned state and relevant regional bloc. The Special Representative of the Secretary General Hanna Tetteh may also make a statement.

Tomorrow’s session will be the third time the PSC convenes to discuss the situation in Sudan after the 25 October 2021 military seizure of power that plunged the country into a political crisis. In its first session (1041st), where the PSC decided to suspended Sudan from all AU activities ‘until the effective restoration of the Civilian-led Transitional Authority’, it also requested the Chairperson of the Commission to ‘immediately dispatch to Sudan his emissary to engage with Sudanese stakeholders on necessary steps needed to expedite the restoration of constitutional order in Sudan’. The Council further requested the Chairperson of the Commission to provide monthly updates on the situation in Sudan.

Tomorrow’s session is convened as a follow to this request and at the backdrop of PAPS Commissioner Adeoye’s recent visit to Sudan. While the dispatching of the AUC Chairperson’s emissary has not been followed up as envisaged in the PSC decision, on 18 January, Adeoye was visiting Khartoum during which he delivered ‘a special message’ from the AU Commission Chairperson to General Abdeltatah Al Burhan.

One of the major developments since the 21 November political agreement between Prime Minister Abdala Hamdok and Al Burhan that reinstated Hamdok was the latter’s resignation on 2 January 2022, and further deepening the crisis in Sudan’s transition that has been stumbling since the 25 October coup. The resignation came amid unrelenting deadly protests and failure of the military not to interfere in cabinet appointments. It is worth recalling that despite the 21 November agreement that reinstalled Hamdok to his position as Prime Minister, the mobilization of opposition against the military and the staging of protests continue unabated.

Hamdok’s resignation raised international concerns about the worsening of the political crisis in Sudan’s transition. For instance, the Chairperson of the Commission, Moussa Faki, issued a statement on 3 January expressing his concern over the resignation and the continued protests and violence in the country. In his statement, the Chairperson urged ‘all national civilian and military actors to intensify their efforts to find a path towards consensual approaches and a peaceful resolution to the crisis, in conformity with the transitional political agreements’, and expressed AU’s readiness to accompany Sudan in its quest for peace. Similarly, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, after expressing his regrets over the lack of political understanding, encouraged ‘all stakeholders to continue engaging in meaningful dialogue in order to reach an inclusive, peaceful and lasting solution’. The European Union (EU) and the Troika on Sudan (Norway, the UK and the US), in a 4 January statement, also ‘strongly urged’ stakeholders to ‘commit to an immediate, Sudanese-led and internationally facilitated dialogue’ to address the current political crisis.

Against the background of growing calls for dialogue and in the context of lack of progress towards breaking the political stalemate internally, on 8 January, the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) formally launched a ‘UN facilitated intra-Sudanese political process’ on the way forward for democracy and peace under its good offices mandate. The success of this effort however rests heavily on the backing it has from both internal and external actors. Thus far, two of the three major pro-democracy groups, the Sudanese Professionals Association and the Resistance Committee, have rejected the initiative while the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC) expressed willingness to participate in the consultation on condition that the purpose is to ‘resume the democratic transition’. The military reportedly welcomed the initiative. International partners such as the Sudan Quad (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, UK, and US) and Friends of Sudan (core members of the Friends of Sudan group include France, Germany, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Norway, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, UK, US and the EU) also expressed their strong support to the initiative of UNITAMS.

The political process that UNITAMS initiated is sure to benefit from active role of regional actors such AU and IGAD. A statement issued by the ‘Friends of Sudan’ on 18 January 2022 recognized the ‘important and necessary engagement of regional bodies’ in advancing Sudan’s democratic transition and the role they can play in ‘supporting’ UNITAMS ongoing effort. It is worth noting that Mohamed Hamdan Degalo (Hemeti), Al Burhan’s deputy arrived in Addis on 20 January on a two-day official visit. AU Commission Chairperson met with Hemeti to discuss, according to the Chairperson, ‘the worrying situation in Sudan’. In his communication via twitter after meeting Al Burhan, Adeoye noted the reaffirmation by Sudanese actors of ‘the imperative for a constructive and active role for the AU in Sudan’. In tomorrow’s session, members of the Council may seek clarification from Adeoye on plans for AU’s engagement to push for restoration of constitutional order and the available entry points in this regard.

Given the persistent protests and the security response that has increasingly claiming the lives of unarmed protesting civilians, the most immediate issue of concern for the PSC is how to calm down the increasingly violent confrontation between protesters and the military. In terms of the political process to achieving consensus on the transition, there are several contentious issues among Sudanese stakeholders. For instance, whether the August 2019 Constitutional Declaration remain a relevant framework to guide the transition seems contested. The manner and basis for the selection of a new civilian leadership, the place of the military in the transition, and the timeframe for the election remain highly divisive among political forces. Protesters and opposition political parties rejected any power-sharing with the military while the latter’s commitment to transfer power to a civilian component as envisaged under the Constitutional Declaration remains doubtful. Furthermore, some of the transitional tasks stipulated in the political agreements including the formation of the Transitional Legislative Council and other oversight mechanisms remain unimplemented nearly a year and half after 2019 Constitutional Declarations.

Apart from the political developments, the Council may assess the security and socio-economic as well as human right conditions of Sudan that have seen deterioration since the military coup. In his 10 December 2021 UN Security Council briefing, Volker Perthes, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan and Head of UNITAMS, noted a ‘resurgence of intercommunal conflicts and armed banditry in Darfur, Blue Nile and the Kordofans’. The coup also put a break on the flow of international financial assistance, thereby disrupting the process of economic recovery. The human right situation has also worsened as security forces increased the use of force in their attempt to contain the largely peaceful protesters. More than 71 protesters have been reported killed since the 25 October coup. There are also allegations of rape and sexual violence against protesters at the hands of security forces, as well as reported attacks on medical facilities.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. Among others, the PSC may express its concern over the worsening of the political crisis and the attendant resignation of Prime Minister Hamdok. The Council may emphasize the need to take concrete measures for deescalating the worsening tension and accompanying instability. The PSC may welcome the political process that UNITAMS initiated and underscore the imperative of ensuring that any effort to resolve the ongoing political crisis is inclusive and representative of all sections of society including the youth and women and garners the support of all political and social forces. The PSC may also encourage the AU Commission to enhance its engagement to accompany Sudan on its transition to democratic and civilian rule. The Council may call on all the Sudanese actors to use the August 2019 Constitutional Declaration as a basis of the dialogue towards achieving consensus on the transitional political arrangements while upholding the Juba Peace Agreement. Regarding the violence against protesters, the Council may urge the Sudanese authorities not to use of excessive and lethal force against protesters and reiterate its 1050th session in urging the Sudanese to undertake a ‘prompt, independent, transparent and effective investigation into alleged violations and abuses perpetrated since 24 October 2021’. The PSC may reiterate its decision ‘to dispatch a mission to Sudan to engage with the authorities and other relevant stakeholders with a view to facilitating and supporting the ongoing transition process, and to report thereon.’


General debate of the PSC and A3+1 on African matters in the UNSC Agenda

2022

Date | 17 January, 2022

Tomorrow (17 January), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its first ministerial session of the year, which will be its 1058th session, to hold a general debate of the PSC and the A3+1 on African matters in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) agenda.

Ghana, which joined this year the UNSC as the non-permanent member representing Africa, will preside over the session as the chair of the PSC for the month. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of Ghana, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, is expected to deliver an opening statement. AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole Adeoye, is scheduled to make a presentation that would facilitate the discussion. All the three elected African members of the UNSC (A3), namely, Gabon, Ghana, and Kenya, are envisaged to participate.

The PSC last convened a session on the role of the A3 at its 983rd meeting that took place on 4 March 2021. In that session, the Council, among others, stressed the importance of providing ‘strategic guidance’ to the A3 on peace and security issues ahead of the UNSC meetings to enable them effectively discharge their role of articulating, defending and promoting common African positions on issues of interest within the UNSC. Tomorrow’s session is aimed at providing the PSC and A3 members a platform to deliberate and exchange views on matters of strategic importance to Africa that are on the agenda of the UNSC. The deliberation is expected to help the A3 better amplify African positions and interests within the UNSC as it would facilitate common understanding on African matters.

The concept note prepared for the session outlines four agenda items for the discussion. The first agenda item is on the funding of AU-led PSOs. Members of the PSC and the A3 will receive update on the progress made towards the development of the draft Consensus Paper on the Financing of AU-led Peace Support Operations through the UN Assessed Contributions. It is to be recalled that the PSC considered the draft zero consensus paper as well as the strategic priorities for the utilization of the AU Peace Fund during its 1036th session, held on 5 October 2021. This was a follow up session to the 21 July 2021 Bankole’s brief to the Council on the steps taken towards the elaboration of the common position on financing of AU-led PSOs. If finalized, the consensus paper is expected to be submitted to the upcoming AU Assembly this February for endorsement.

In 2021, the two counterparts in Addis and New York showed interest to revive discussions around financing AU-led PSOs through UN assessed contributions after efforts to adopt a resolution reached deadlock in 2018 and then in 2019. The issue was high on the agenda of AU-UN Consultative meetings held at different levels in November and December of last year. On 28 October 2021, the UNSC also issued a presidential statement (S/PRST/2021/21) on cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organizations in maintaining international peace and security. After recognizing the potential impact of ‘ad hoc and unpredictable financing arraignments’ for AU-led PSOs on the effectiveness of the PSOs, the presidential statement ‘encouraged further dialogue on options for addressing this issue’.

The development of a consensus paper is indeed a critical step in facilitating a clear decision by the AU, which in turn pave the way for the A3 to resuscitate the file in the UNSC. The outcome of the discussion will be shaped by two factors. The first is whether the AU is able to take a clear position on the sticking points in the negotiation with UNSC, notably 75/25 funding formula, compliance with human right and humanitarian standards, financial accountability and transparency, and command and control over the troops. The second is while there is a favorable dynamic in the UNSC which was also demonstrated in the recently concluded 15th annual consultative meeting, high-level diplomatic engagement with the US remains critical.

In relation to the second agenda item, the discussion is expected to center around ways of ensuring a predictable and sustainable financial and logistical support to the G5 Joint Task Force. Secretary General’s report on the Joint Force of the Group of Five for the Sahel (G5 Sahel) (document S/2021/940) highlights the risk of reversal of gains made by the Joint Task Force as it relies on ‘unpredictable donor financing, which cannot entirely meet the Joint Force’s needs’. The UN Secretary-General has been advocating for the establishment of UN Support Office to AMISOM-like separate office to avail logistical support to the Task Force through assessed contribution. During MINUSMA’s mandate renewal in June 2021, A3+1 members at the time (Niger, Tunisia, Kenya, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), along with France, was even mulling over tabling a resolution to establish the office. However, the UK and US opposed the idea of a separate office and the use of assessed contribution for non-UN missions. The PSC, on its part, urged the UNSC to ‘take necessary steps that will guarantee sustainable and predictable funding for the G5 Sahel Force from the UN assessed contribution’, at its 939th session convened on 30 July 2021. However, the PSC omitted the same call for UN funding in its last session (1006th) on the G5 Sahel, held on 6 July 2021.

Against this context, tomorrow’s deliberation would help both the PSC and the A3 to strategize on how to get buy-in from UNSC members, particularly UK and US. Two issues will remain to be addressed in this respect. The first issue stems from the very nature of the G5 Sahel Joint Force, which is ‘a coalition of the willing’ that undertake counter terrorism operations within their territories. UN is reluctant to use its assessed contribution for counter terrorism operations as it would not be in line with its peacekeeping doctrine. The second issue is that the Joint Force is not AU-led PSO nor UN-authorized mission, but an AU-mandated force. As this raises the question of compliance and accountability, it would be challenging to get UN backing without making some sort of changes on the modality of the Task Force.

The third agenda item will focus on support for strengthening the security capabilities of African regional institutions. The discussion on this item is likely to happen within the context of a progress made towards the operationalization of the African Standby Force and growing interest of regional blocs to use this framework while addressing security situations/crisis arising in their jurisdiction. A case in point is the deployment of the SADC Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) in mid-July of 2021 to combat of terrorism and acts of violent extremism in Cabo Delgado. Most recently, ECOWAS, at its 4th extraordinary summit convened on 9 January 2022, decided to ‘activate immediately the ECOWAS Standby Force, to enhance its preparedness, should the need arise’ in the context of the difficult political transition in Mali.

The ability and will of some of the RECs/RMs for the deployment of PSOs requires more clarity between AU, RECs/RMs and Member States on some of the strategic and political issues such as decision making, mandating deployment and command and control of the forces. In this connection, participants may hear from Bankole about the status of the drafting of the AU-RECs/RMs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the deployment and employment of the ASF. As highlighted by the PSC at its 1007th session (8 July 2021) on the operationalization of ASF, ‘lack of resource including predictable and sustainable funding’ will remain major impediment to the effectiveness as well as sustainability of such deployments. Members of PSC and the A3 may reflect on ways and means of addressing this challenge. Of interest to the participants is also the status of the establishment of a counter-terrorism unit within the ASF as decided by the PSC during its 960th session (28 October 2020).

The last agenda item is on common African position for UN Security Council on climate induced insecurity. As noted in the concept note, ‘AU has demonstrated continental leadership in recognizing and acting on the nexus between climate, peace and security’. In 2021 alone, the PSC convened three sessions (984th, 1043rd, and 1051st) on climate change, natural disasters, and peace and security. Two of these sessions were convened at the summit level, showing the political weight attached to the issue. While the UNSC has failed to adopt a resolution on climate change and security, the PSC issued several communiques that clearly recognizes the risk of climate change to the peace and security landscape in Africa. It is to be recalled that the outgoing A3 member (Niger) and Ireland tabled a resolution on climate security in last December. Though the draft resolution was not adopted as Russia vetoed it. Climate security is high on the agenda of Africa as the continent only contributes four percent of carbon emission but bears the brunt of its consequences.

Beyond tabling a resolution, there are other avenues that A3 could navigate to get Africa’s voice on climate security across. One notable avenue in this regard is the Informal Expert Group on Climate Security in the UN Security Council in which Kenya co-chairs alongside Norway.

Developing African Common Position on Climate Change will go a long way in clarifying Africa’s position and providing strategic guidance to the A3 in their engagement within the UNSC to advance Africa’s interest. The idea of having such a common position was first raised during the summit level meeting of the PSC at its 984th session in March of last year. In its latest session on climate change and security (1051st), the PSC also reaffirmed the importance of ‘adhering to the common African position on climate change, in particular on Climate Finance and operationalization of the Global Goal on Adaptation’ in the context of the upcoming COP27. As indicated in the concept note, tomorrow’s session therefore presents both the PSC and A3 members the opportunity for consultation on the development of the common position, and explore ‘main action points and instruments needed for the AU’ to advance climate-security nexus.

The expected outcome is a communique. The outcome may stress on the need to regularize and institutionalize interaction between the PSC and A3 to collectively advance African position and interest in the UNSC. They may further emphasize the importance of broadening alliance and constructively engage with UNSC members to get a greater buy-in of African positions on African files and other issues of mutual interest. The participants may specifically highlight the issue of ensuring predictable, sustainable and sufficient financing to peace support operations in Africa as a critical factor for the success of such operations, and in this regard, may urge member states, AU, RECs/RMs, international partners and the UN to avail all the required supports. Given the important role they play in building consensus within the AU, participants may urge the Commission to expedite the development and finalization of African common positions on financing AU-led PSOs as well as climate change and security. On support to counter terrorism operations, the participants may emphasize on the need to have further clarity on UN’s peacekeeping engagement and the use of its assessed contribution in light of the changing global security landscape as marked by the rise of terrorism and violent extremism.


Update on the Situation in Mali

2022

Date | 14 January, 2022

Tomorrow (14 January), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) is set to receive updates on the situation in Mali as one of the agenda items of its 1057th session, which was added to the monthly program after the adoption of the program.

Following the opening remarks of the PSC Chairperson of the month and Permanent Representative of Ghana to the AU, Amma A. Twum-Amoah, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to make a presentation. The AU High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, Maman Sambo Sidikou is also expected to make remarks. Statements are also expected from representatives of Algeria, Mauritania, Ghana (as Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Chair), and United Nations Office to the AU (UNOAU). Mali as a country concerned may provide a statement. It is expected that one of the issues that will be highlighted is the need for ensuring that measures taken against Mali will not interfere with the 2015 peace agreement and further aggravate the security challenges of Mali.

The session comes following the fourth Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government convened on 9 January 2022 where in addition to deciding to uphold the previous sanctions, the regional bloc imposed additional sanctions against Mali and the transition authorities, including closure of land and air borders between Mali and other ECOWAS countries. ECOWAS’s decision was based on the inability of Mali’s transition authorities to adhere to the 2020 Transitional Charter which limits the transition period to 18 months. Ahead of the summit, Mali presented a proposal to ECOWAS, which the ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan indicated would not be endorsed by ECOWAS.

Tomorrow’s session is expected to consider the latest developments in Mali in the context of the decision of the Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS. It is to be recalled that the PSC at its 1001st session endorsed the decision of ECOWAS on Mali and called upon the transitional authorities to respect the initially set 18 months transition period. The PSC has further called for the immediate return of the military to the barracks, for a swift civilian led transition, for the unconditional respect of the transitional charter and to ensure that the current leadership of the transition does not participate in the planned election.

Despite the repeated calls by ECOWAS, the PSC and other international partners to adhere to the 2020 Transitional Charter and despite earlier promises by Mali’s transition authority to conduct elections by February 2022, a new transition calendar was adopted by the end of December 2021, scheduling the elections for December 2026 and extending the transition period for additional five years.

As highlighted in the report of PSC’s Evaluation Mission to Mali conducted in July 2021, there was already lack of concreate agreement on the establishment of an independent election management body or maintaining the prevailing system of having three institutions to manage the elections. According to the draft electoral law adopted by the Council of Ministers on 24 November 2021, a single election management body is to be established although the process for establishing this organ may be lengthy, a concern already stressed by various Malian stakeholders earlier on as captured in the report of PSC’s Evaluation mission.

Moreover, despite repeated calls from ECOWAS and PSC, Mali’s current transition authorities have refrained from declaring that they will not be taking part in elections at the end of the transition period. The transition process has also been criticised for lack of inclusivity. For instance, reports indicate that despite the participation of substantial number of citizens at the national dialogue – the “National Refoundation Conference” – conducted from 11 to 30 December 2021 which ended with the recommendation to extend Mali’s transition period anywhere from six months to five years, some key regions were not represented, notably Kidal and Ménaka. Moreover, the Cadre d’échange (“Exchange Framework”), a political coalition involving allies of the former presidential majority, not only boycotted the national dialogue claiming “erosion of trust between the transitional government and political parties”, but also voiced clear opposition against the new transition calendar and the extension of the transition period implied therein.

Both ECOWAS and the PSC – notably the PSC at its 1001st session – have underscored the need for holding a national dialogue and urged the transition authorities to coordinate an inclusive national reconciliation and dialogue process. The December 2021 “National Refoundation Conference” was conducted after two postponements. Nonetheless, the dialogue came up with some solid positive outcomes, including recommendations for the creation of a Senate, the acceleration of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process and a constitutional review.

Malian authorities rejected the decision of ECOWAS and have called upon people in the country and diaspora to participate in protests on Friday 14 January, alongside calls for prayer sessions in places of worship, declaring their decision to ‘safeguard our sovereignty’. A key development in the region that followed ECOWAS’s additional sanctions against Mali was Guinea’s announcement that it is in no way associated with the decision and that it will keep its borders with Mali open, going against ECOWAS’s decision. Guinea, having undergone a coup of its own on 5 September 2021, is currently undergoing a transition period marred with its own challenges and as a member of ECOWAS, is under sanctions imposed by the regional bloc. On the other hand, in the Communiqué of its 4th Extraordinary Session, ECOWAS has called for non-ECOWAS member States neighbouring Mali, particularly Algeria and Mauritania to support the implementation of its decisions. Algeria and Mauritania, both expected to be represented at tomorrow’s PSC session may therefore express their positions in that regard.

The UN Security Council on its part considered the situation in Mali and a draft statement on Mali initiated by France on 11 January 2022. Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN stated that the A3+1 firmly backed the tough ECOWAS decision on Mali, while welcoming the assurance the sanctions imposed will not impede the import of humanitarian air, essential consumer goods, medicines, medical equipment and the operations of UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Despite the support by the A3 and other members of the Council including UK and US for the draft statement initiated by France, the adoption of the draft statement was blocked by Russia and China. Russia underscored at the meeting that it recognises and understands the challenges faced by Malian authorities in organising the general elections as explanation for its position against endorsing ECOWAS’s sanctions. It is known that the involvement of the Russian private military company, the Wagner Group in Mali has been causing tension between Russia on the one hand and other members of the UN Security Council, notably France, UK and US.

On the security front, insurgency and intercommunal violence continue to destabilise the country, with an increasing trend in the usage of improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Militant attacks targeted against civilians and MINUSMA forces have continued to claim the lives of many. At its 1027th session where it considered the report of the PSC evaluation mission to Mali, Council encouraged the transition authorities to accelerate implementation of the 2015 Algiers Agreement, particularly the deployment of the Reconstituted Army Battalions (BATFAR) which could contribute in filling some security vacuum that could result from the withdrawal of France’s forces. To evaluate the threat on the ground, the AU Commission was also requested to conduct an assessment at Council’s 1027th session. Tomorrow’s session therefore presents the opportunity for Council to follow up on the progress of the assessment.

The humanitarian situation in Mali also continues to deteriorate. According to the UN, “more than 1.8 million people are expected to need food assistance in 2022 compared to 1.3 million in 2021, the highest level of food insecurity recorded since 2014”. The UN has also recorded a considerable increase in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mali, from 216,000 to over 400,000 in just one year. Despite the worsening circumstances, there hasn’t been sufficient humanitarian assistance in Mali, with a very limited amount of funding received in the past year as emphasised by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the country.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a Communiqué. Council is expected to express grave concern over the prolonged extension of the transition period, going against the terms of the PSC communique of its 1001st session. The PSC may reiterate its earlier calls for the need for upholding constitutional rule and respecting the terms of the transitional charter that sets the parameters for return to constitutional order. It may also endorse the decision of the 4th Extraordinary Session of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and may appeal to the transitional authorities to work with ECOWAS to address the outstanding areas of difference with a view for facilitating the return of Mali to constitutional order within a short period of time. The PSC may also call on its member States to support the efforts of ECOWAS and the ECOWAS mediator, former Nigerian President Goodluck Johnathan. Council may also appeal to the international community to provide assistance to respond to the grave humanitarian situation in Mali. Welcoming the convening of the national dialogue, the Council may also urge Mali’s transition authorities to take forward and ensure implementation of outcomes such as the recommendation for accelerating DDR processes while complying with the transitional charter and the various communiques of the PSC. It may also reiterate the importance of the 2015 peace agreement and the need to ensure and provide full support for its implementation.


Consideration of the Renewal of the Mandate of MNJTF

2022

Date | 14 January, 2022

Tomorrow (14 January), the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) will convene its 1057th session to consider the renewal of the mandate of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

Permanent Representative of Ghana, Amma A. Twum-Amoah, is expected to make opening statement as the Chair of the PSC for the month of January. The Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (PAPS), Bankole Adeoye, is expected to introduce the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) against the Boko Haram terrorist group. The new Force Commander of the MNJTF, Maj.-Gen. Abdul-Khalifah Ibrahim, who assumed the position in August 2021 is scheduled to deliver a presentation. The representatives of Ghana and Gabon are also expected to make statements as the chair of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), respectively.

This session is convened in light of the impending expiry of MNJTF’s mandate at the end of January—PSC last renewed MNJTF’s mandate on January 2021 during its 973rd session. Apart from mandate renewal, this session affords the Council the opportunity to receive update on the activities of the MNJTF pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Communiqué PSC/AHG/ COMM.2 (CDLXXXIV) of 29 January 2015. Among others, the update is expected to highlight the achievements and challenges of MNJTF since its last mandate renewal.

On the achievements, the MNJTF has made progress in discharging its mandate against Boko Haram and its offshoot, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). One notable success over the last one year is the ‘spate of insurgents surrender’ as a result of MNJTF’s kinetic and non-kinetic measures. Some 3,600 militants reportedly surrendered between August and October of last year. Military operations by the Taskforce also eliminated several jihadist militants and seized weapons and equipment. In the recent operation code-named ‘Sharan Fague’, which was carried out last December in Malam Fatori of Borno State of Nigeria, around 22 Boko Haram terrorists were neutralized, according to a statement by the Spokesperson of the Task force. According to the report of the Chairperson of the Commission on MNJTF, ‘over 160 Boko Haram terrorist fighters were neutralized while about 130 others were arrested’. Another notable success highlighted by the report is MNJTF’s success in dislodging the terrorist group from all population centers, which are now contained in their enclaves within the Lake Chad Islands (Tumbuns).

MNJTF’s military operations have improved security situation in some of the affected areas in the Lake Chad Basin, paving the way for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees to return home. This was the case in the town of Baroua, Diffa region of Southeast Niger, where close to 6,000 IDPs who fled Boko Haram violence years ago reportedly returned home last June. In August 2021, same number of IDPs of Cross kauwa, Baga and Doron Baga of Borno State, Nigeria, also returned to their homes.

A bitter infight between Boko Haram and ISWAP inflicted considerable loss to both of them in 2021. Boko Haram’s longtime leader, Abubakar Shekau, was reported dead in May 2021 after his base in Sambisa forest was overrun by its splinter group, ISWAP. This triggered defections to the government forces and in some cases to the ISWAP faction. In October of the same year, Nigerian army also announced the death of ISWAP leader Abu Musab al-Barnawi. It is believed that the deadly rivalry between the two factions creates window of opportunity for the Taskforce to intensify its military engagement against the terrorist groups and degrade their operational capacity.

Despite MNJTF’s success, both Boko Haram and ISWAP are still potent threat that showed resilience despite the setback they sustained. According to the latest report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on ‘continental efforts in the prevention and combating of terrorism in Africa’, Boko Haram staged 33 attacks leading to 175 deaths during the first half of 2021. Though this marks a reduction as compared to 2020 (59 attacks and 375 deaths), Boko Haram remained the most lethal terrorist group in Africa with an average of 5.3 deaths per attack.

Tomorrow’s session is also expected to discuss some of the challenges that the MNJTF is currently facing. One major challenge likely to be highlighted in this regard is the increasing use of technologies such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) by Boko Haram (PSC flagged this particular concern during its 816th and 973rd sessions). The use of drone by the terrorist group was first reported in November 2018 when Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari announced the development during a meeting of troop contributing countries to the MNJTF. The influx of affiliated foreign terrorist fighters who bring with them technical skills in customizing the widely available commercial drones (hobby drones) helped Boko Haram and other non-state actors in Africa to include drones in their repertoires. Currently, Boko Haram’ use of this technology is limited to surveillance and reconnaissance operations. But, as the Chairperson of the Commission cautioned in his latest report on terrorism in Africa, ‘it is only a question of time before these [terrorist] groups adopt weaponized-drones into their Modus Operandi’. Against this context, it is imperative that the MNJTF and countries in the Lake Chad Basin have a strategy to counter the emerging threat.

The other challenge is the capability gaps within the MNJTF. In the previous session on the MNJTF, the Council requested the AU Commission to mobilise support, particularly through the provision for ‘Counter Improvised Explosive Devices (C-IED) equipment, Amphibious Equipment, counter drone equipment, force protection vehicles, surveillance equipment, and Intelligence, Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) services’. The presentations from Bankole and the force commander Ibrahim may highlight developments in this regard including the provision of Air Mobility assets, Command-Control-Communication and Information System (C3IS), and boats to enhance amphibious capability. Bankole may also speak about the financial support provided by the European Union (EU) to the Task force through the AU. The report of the Chairperson indicates that EU availed 18.9 million Euros for 2021. The EU increased the amount for this year to 20 million Euros. In light of the growing number of terrorist surrenders, Bankole may also highlight the Commission’s support to the MNJTF in ensuring compliance to regional and international human rights and humanitarian law.

Member states of the Lake Chad Basin are also facing mounting security challenges other than from Boko Haram/ISWAP. The rising herder-farmer conflict and armed bandit attacks (the latest attack this month claimed over 200 lives) in Nigeria; growing jihadist insurgency in Niger along its borders with Mali and Burkina Faso; the incursion of mercenaries and foreign fighters from Libya into Chad are cases in point. Unless more resource is channeled to support the MNJTF’s counter terrorism operations, national governments of the region may have to shift attention towards addressing other security threats.

Lack of coordination in the area of joint planning and information sharing between different sectors of the MNJTF, limited LCBC’s political control over the Force, as well as lack of sustainable funding remain the other challenges affecting the effectiveness of the MNJTF.

The expected outcome of tomorrow’s session is a communique. The PSC is expected to commend the gains made by the MNJTF over Boko Haram. However, the Council may express its concern over the continued security threat posed by the terrorist groups and some of the worrying trends such as Boko Haram’s use of drones for surveillance and reconnaissance operations. The Council is also expected to take note of the challenges that the MNJTF is currently facing. In this regard, it may urge member states of the LCBC plus Benin and international partners to redouble efforts in addressing capability gaps and funding constraint, as well as issues related to effective coordination in the areas of operation planning and information sharing. The Council may follow up on its previous request of the Commission to renew the ‘Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Support Implementation Agreement (SIA) between AU, LCBC and MNJTF TCCs in support of MNJTF operations’. Furthermore, on account of the transboundary nature of Boko Haram’s threat, the Council may call on the two regional blocs ECOWAS and ECCAS to enhance horizontal cooperation and coordination. In light of the prevailing security situation in the Lake Chad Basin, the Council is expected to renew MNJTF’s mandate for another one year effective 1 February 2022.


Provisional Program of Work for the Month of January 2022

2022

Date | 30 December, 2021

Ghana assumes the role of chairing the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the month of January. In January, Ghana also starts its two-year term on the UN Security Council (UNSC) as a non-permanent member representing Africa. The provisional program of work for the month includes five substantive sessions—two country/region specific and three thematic sessions.

On 5 January, the Committee of Experts is expected to meet to consider the report on the activities of the Peace and Security Council and the state of peace and security in Africa. On 11 and 13 January, the PSC will convene at Ambassadorial level to consider and adopt the same report, which will be submitted to the Assembly in February.

The first substantive session of the year is scheduled to happen on 14 January to consider the renewal of the mandate of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF). The PSC last renewed MNJTF’s mandate at its 973rd session held on 18 January 2021, for a period of twelve months, effective from 31 January 2021. Apart from mandate renewal, the Council may receive update on the activities of the MNJTF in line with the relevant provisions contained in the Communiqué PSC/AHG/ COMM.2 (CDLXXXIV) of 29 January 2015. The continued use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) by Boko Haram for reconnaissance operations and capability gaps within the MNJTF were areas of concern to the Council during its previous sessions. In light of this, members of the PSC are likely to hear from the AU Commission about efforts to engage with partners and other stakeholders to mobilize support for the taskforce and mitigate its capability gaps.

On 17 January, the PSC will convene at a ministerial level to hold a general debate of the PSC and the A3+1 on African matters in the UNSC agenda. This session comes not long after the conclusion of the eighth high level seminar on peace and security in Africa that took place in Oran, Algeria, in early December 2021. The high-level seminar serves as a platform to facilitate close interaction and enhance coordination between the PSC and the A3 (the three African non-permanent members of the UNSC). It is to be recalled that the PSC, at its last session on the A3 (983rd meeting convened on 4 March 2021), stressed the importance of providing ‘strategic guidance’ to the A3 on peace and security issues ahead of the UNSC meetings to support their role in advancing a unified African voice at the UNSC. In this context, the upcoming general debate is pivotal to exchange views and forge a common understanding among members of the PSC and A3+1 on African files in the UNSC. Furthermore, the session offers good opportunity to further consolidate coordination between PSC and the A3.

On the following day, 18 January, PSC will consider and adopt its provisional program of work for February through email exchange.

On 25 January, the PSC is expected to receive a briefing on South Sudan. It is to be recalled that the PSC undertook a three-day field mission to South Sudan in March 2021. The report of the field mission was considered during PSC’s 990th session held on 13 April. In that session, while the Council noted the ‘steady progress’ in the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (R-ARCSS), it also urged the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity (R-TGoNU) to work on all outstanding provisions of the R-ARCSS notably Chapter II (transitional security arrangements) and Chapter V (Transitional justice). As the deadline for the transitional period fast approaches—scheduled to end in February 2023—the briefing would allow members of the PSC to take stock of the progresses and challenges in the implementation of the revitalized agreement and discuss the way forward.

On 27 January, there will be an open session on ‘promoting constitutionalism, democracy and inclusive governance to strengthen peace, security and stability in Africa’. At the Council’s 791st session convened in August 2018, it was agreed to dedicate an annual session on the implementation of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, though not followed up. The upsurge of unconstitutional change of government in 2021 and its destabilizing effect however makes this session very timely. The session is expected to highlight the need to deepen democratic culture, constitutionalism and political governance for a peaceful and stable continent. To that end, the contribution of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and the twin architectures of AGA (African Governance Architecture) and APSA (African Peace and Security Architecture) could also be explored.

The last session of the month is scheduled to happen on 31 January to receive a briefing on elections in Africa. The last briefing was held during the Council’s 1034th meeting in September 2021 where the Council considered the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on elections in Africa held between January and June 2021. This briefing therefore follows the previous one, which is expected to cover elections in Africa held during the period from July to December 2021. Like in the previous sessions, the briefing will be based on the report of the Chairperson of the Commission that provides an overview of elections in the continent, in addition to highlighting key trends in governance, emerging patterns in the conduct of elections, AU’s electoral support and interventions as well as policy recommendations.

In addition to the above agenda items, the provisional program of work also indicates in footnote on the possibility of convening a session on the status of AMISOM post-2021 without setting a specific date. This session is likely to happen soon given the most recent milestone reached with the signing of an agreement between the AU and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) on 29 December 2021, outlining principles and modalities for ‘reconfigured’ AMISOM. The session may also consider the latest dispute between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed ‘Farmaajo’ and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and its implication on the long overdue presidential election and the overall peace and stability of Somalia.