Sunday, January 27, 2013

DR Congo: The AU appears to be getting serious

South African Broadcasting Corporation reports


Dlamini-Zuma calls for African standby force


                                                                  Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has called on the AU member states to speed up the mobilisation of the African standby force to deal with the emergence of rebel organisations in some parts of the continent.

At a guess this is a reference to the DR Congo, although in truth there are so many rebellions going on I am not sure. The AU force has been agreed and mandated for the DR Congo though. 

Recently, the governments of Mali, DRC and Central African Republic have been fighting rebel groups.

As far as I am aware the AU has not agreed to intervene in Mali that is being handled by France and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forces while the Central African Republic difficulties are being sorted out by South Africa.

Last week, the AU said it wanted to increase the size of the African peacekeeping forces in Mali to help normalise the situation in that country. 

Certainly ECOWAS forces are slowly being deployed but this is not under the auspices of the AU.
Speaking at the 20th session of the AU Summit underway in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Dlamini-Zuma said the union must remain firm on its stance of no unconstitutional change of government. 

"The union must enhance our capacity to defend democratically elected governments and their territorial integrity, thus there is a need to accelerate the formation of the standby force and whatever other mechanisms that will enable us to have a quick response when the need arises."

The problem of course is that there aren't a lot of democratically elected governments suffering from rebel movements they can't handle by themselves. Mali and the CAR can under no circumstances be termed democratic, the DR Congo is at least attempting to go down the democratic road. For all that a standby force that can move quickly is a great idea. 4000 well armed AU troops ready to deploy at the drop of a hat might well have made M23 think a bit harder before invading Goma in the DR Congo.

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