African Leaders and the AU encouraged to address peace and security challenges in Africa

African Leaders Encouraged
From left to right, H.E. Thabo Mbeki, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa and H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

On 17th May, 2018 former Presidents H.E. Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania, H.E. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia and about forty peace and security high-level practitioners and experts from across Africa gathered in Dar es Salaam to discuss Africa’s position in the global peace and security architecture.

The Meeting which was organised by the Office of the Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa and UONGOZI Institute was themed “Africa in the Global Peace and Security Architecture – Overcoming Gridlocks to Peace”.

The Meeting served as a continuation of the African Leadership Forum (ALF) convened in Johannesburg, South Africa in August, 2017, by H.E. Mkapa and H.E. Mbeki and attended by five other former African Heads of State, including H.E. Olusegun Mathew Obasanjo of Nigeria; H.E. Elson Bakili Muluzi of Malawi; H.E. Mohamed Moncef Marzouki of Tunisia; H.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania; and H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud of Somalia.

The Meeting focused on two specific conflict areas in the region, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Federal Republic of Somalia and used Chatham House Rules to facilitate free and honest exchange.

The Meeting noted and applauded the growing role that the African Union (AU) and African institutions are playing in fostering peace and security in the Continent. Nevertheless, it noted that challenges remain and that a doubling of effort is necessary.

Commenting on the Meeting’s recommendations, H.E. Mkapa pointed out the need of streamlining peace and security structures in the African Union (AU) and other African regional blocs, as well as increasing collaboration with United Nations (UN) peace and security structures.

He stated, “It is critically important for the AU to present a unified voice in the international arena, however, the collaboration between AU and UN is essential to address key peace and security challenges in the African countries by learning UN’s experience.”

On his part, H.E. Mbeki elucidated on why the Meeting selected only two cases, Somalia and DRC.

He argued, “The Meeting wanted as practical results as possible, it could not discuss too many countries or examples, that is why two cases were chosen. Somalia case is important because it raises a question of the struggle against terrorism. As for the DRC, it borders nine African countries, and conflict in the DRC necessarily has semi-continental impact.”

He added, “The Meeting results will be fed into the processes taking place at the AU to help realise the organisation’s vision such as what is called ‘silencing the guns by 2020’.”

Relating with the experience in Somalia, after decades of military rule and dictatorship and civil war, H. E. Mohamud recognized that education is fundamental for ensuring that citizens understand the concepts of good governance and rule of law, but that this is not enough.

He said, “First and foremost, Africa’s leadership must lead by example. Leaders must follow the rules and act on citizens’ interests.”

The Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), Amb. Zachary Muburi Muita emphasised on the need for regional leaders to work together on matters of peace and security.

He stated, “If one country explodes, the fire burns the neighbours immediately. And if there is peace and prosperity in one of the countries especially a central country like the DRC, the prosperity is going to spill over immediately to the neighbourhood.”

He further stated, “Thus, there is a need for political leaders, in a brotherly manner, to engage on matters of their neighbour(s) with the intention of finding African solutions to the African problems.”

The Meeting concluded with the following recommendations to Africa’s Leaders and the AU in order to address key peace and security challenges on the continent:

  1. Strengthening the continent’s institutions tasked with peace and security matters;
  2. Strengthening in-country frameworks for stakeholder engagement and consultation, and ensuring inclusive national discourse;
  3. Increasing collaboration among national, regional and continental organs and frameworks contributing to conflict prevention and peace enforcement;
  4. Streamlining and increasing collaboration with the United Nations peace and security structures, including the UN Security Council, and learning from their experience;
  5. Promoting universal accession and implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism as an essential tool for ensuring good governance, strong national level dialogue and inclusiveness;
  6. Encouraging burden sharing, including financing of the peace and security effort by African governments.

A comprehensive report from the discussion will be forwarded to the AU Secretariat in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as the Forum’s contribution to the organisation’s effort to drive the peace and security standing across the African continent.

President John Pombe Magufuli Appoints new Board Chair and Vice Chair of the UONGOZI Institute’s Board of Directors

UONGOZI Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Kristiina Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos and Prof. Idris Suleiman Kikula as new Chairperson and new Vice Chairperson, respectively, of the UONGOZI Institute’s Board of Directors. Dr. Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos and Prof. Kikula were appointed by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Dr. John Pombe Magufuli on 15th May, 2018.

Dr. Kristiina Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos

Dr. kristiina-kuvajaDr. Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos is Deputy Director General in the Department for Africa and the Middle East at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Finland.

Dr. Kuvaja-Xanthopoulos has over 20 years’ experience of global development policy and cooperation. She has also worked and conducted research in several countries in Europe, Africa and Asia, both in long- and short-term assignments.


Prof. Idris Suleiman Kikula

Prof. Kikula

Re-appointed last year by the President, Prof. Kikula has been a Member of the UONGOZI Institute’s Board of Directors for over seven years. He was also appointed by President Magufuli in April, 2018 to serve as a Chairman of the newly-established Mining Council of Tanzania.

Prof. Kikula has vast experience in higher education, leadership development and sustainable development. He is well-known for his role as the first Vice Chancellor of the University of Dodoma, from 2007 to early 2018.

Other Members of the UONGOZI Institute’s Board of Directors include Dr. Laurean Ndumbaro, Permanent Secretary, President’s Office, Public Service Management and Good Governance; Dr. Stergomena Tax, Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC); Prof. Penina Mlama, Professor at the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM); Dr. Cristina Duarte, Former Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Administration – Cape Verde; Ms. Iina Soiri, Director of the Nordic Africa Institute – Sweden; and Mr. David Walker, Former Director of the European School of Administration – United Kingdom.

2017 Leadership Essay Competition Winner tells you how to Win

Victor Azure while receiving his award from H.E. Dr. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania.

The 2017 UONGOZI Institute Leadership Essay Competition received over 3,000 essays from across Africa. Contestants were asked to answer the following question on their essays:

“If you were a leader, what would you do to ensure that peace and security is achieved and sustained in Africa?”

Mr. Victor Azure, an aspiring young leader from Ghana emerged as the overall winner of the Competition.

As this year’s Leadership Essay Competition call for submissions is still open, we took the opportunity to interview Mr. Azure. In the interview, he shared his experience and tips for young Africans who are interested in participating in the competition.

Can you briefly introduce yourself?

My name is Victor Azure, a 25-year-old from Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region of Ghana. I am currently a postgraduate law student at the University of Ghana, the same university where I obtained my first degree in Political Science and Philosophy.

Before Law School, I worked as a Research Associate at the Legon Center for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD) where I served as a Project Assistant in the team that drafted Ghana’s Foreign Policy blueprint for the next 40 years as part of the country’s 40-Year Development Plan.

Through LECIAD, I wrote several policy briefs, published a book review on the Legon Journal of International Affairs and Diplomacy and an article in the Ghana Social Sciences Journal.

Furthermore, during the 2016 General Election in Ghana, I was part of the National Election Monitoring Team under the National Peace Council, which facilitated and developed mechanisms for conflict prevention and management.

What inspired you to participate in the Leadership Essay Competition?

First of all, I genuinely felt I had something to contribute on the topic, it was closely linked to the field I was working in as well as my educational background.

Secondly, I think my Ghanaian upbringing also inspired me to participate. Coming from the country of Kwame Nkrumah one cannot grow up consciously and not contemplate some of the things that he stood for, a liberated and united Africa. Peace and security are few of the elements needed to support Nkurumah’s vision.

Thirdly, I believe that Africa’s development can be fully realised if African youth are inspired to find innovative, well-suited and sustainable solutions to African problems. So, I was very excited to find a platform such as UONGOZI Institute’s Leadership Essay Competition, which allowed young people like me to contribute to important discussions on building a peaceful and sustainable Africa.

Tell us about your experience in Johannesburg at the African Leadership Forum, what interested you the most?

I used to tell my friends a joke that if I wasn’t a Ghanaian, then I would have probably been a South African. I am a history enthusiast, and I have always been moved with stories of freedom fighters and/or anti-apartheid activists like Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Winnie Mandela and others. Therefore, I was very pleased to be among the top five winners who were invited to attend the 2017 African Leadership Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Forum had a blend of leaders, experts and scholars from across Africa and other parts of the world, which made its discussions very interesting. It felt special to be in the same room with former Heads of State; H.E. Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, H.E. Benjamin Mkapa, former President of Tanzania, H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, H.E. Mohamed Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia, H.E. Bakili Muluzi, former President of Malawi, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, former President of Somalia and H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania.

It was an eye-opening experience.

What tips can you share with young Africans who would like to participate this year?   

Connect with the topic: You need to understand that you are the narrator, if you cannot connect to the topic enough to pin down examples and provide evidence, you might end up with a weak argument.

Do your homework: Almost everything under the sun has been written about. But, ideas are revised every now and then. Thus, before writing your essay, read about the subject. It allows you to develop or enhance your knowledge on the subject, and answer the essay question in a creative manner. The key here is to find a new way of presenting the issue.

Structure is important: You will not have more than two pages to discuss a very heavy topic. Structure can help you save space and say more. Your first paragraph should set out clearly what you want to achieve with your essay and how you are going to do it. This will enable the examiners to comprehend and follow your argument. Furthermore, subsequent paragraphs must run into each other to tell a coherent story. When paragraphs are coherent you are saved from writing a long conclusion.

Avoid plagiarism: Examiners will hold you to the higher standard than an ordinary blog or other social media platforms. Do not plagiarise, and acknowledge your sources.