A United African Army: A Possibility.

South Africa’s President Ramhaphosa made a two-day visit to Nigeria. It is his first official visit outside of South Africa since becoming President. Part of his message no doubt will be that Africa is waiting for Nigeria to sign the African free trade agreement. An agreement South Africa just signed last week. One notable highlight of his visit is that he came with South Africa’s defence minister.

Facts about Nigeria and South Africa.

Nigeria and South Africa are regarded as the most influential state in Sub-Sahara Africa. This derives from the size of their economies and the role they play in their subregions, ECOWAS and SADC.

Nigeria and South holds almost half the countries GDP, with $1.05 trillion USD, which is half the continents overall GDP.

On the area of security in hindsight, one cannot help but wonder what the security situation would be if Nigeria’s former president Goodluck Jonathan did not sellout the continent for two Warships from the United States. For NATO to go ahead with their planned military action Africa needed the vote of South Africa and Nigeria. South Africa voted NO. Nigeria on the other hand, with the promise of two Hamilton Class Warships (NNS Thunder and NNS Okpabana) voted YES.

Seven years later it is Nigeria, not South Africa paying the price. A very big price, with the death of 30,000 Nigerians, 2 million internally displaced people, a West Africa with so many Islamic Jihadi groups and a permanent United States and French military presence in the region. All coming about because of the destruction of Libya and thousands of weapons finding their way down south, into the hands of terrorist groups.

On the economic scene, South Africa signed the Africa Free Trade Zone agreement, leaving Nigeria the only country yet to sign. With Nigeria’s manufacturing capacity still in its infancy, Nigeria’s hesitation on signing the Free Trade agreement is rational.

But if Africa can bind together to form what will be the largest economic trade zone the world has ever seen, why can’t this be replicated in the security aspect, with a unified Africa Military Force, something akin to NATO on a lesser scale. If there has ever been a time for a unified African Military, now is the time. With the formation of different military alliances by foreign powers in Africa,we are nearing a point of no return.

SAHEL MILITARY ALLIANCE

That the Sahel Alliance actually exist is an indictment of how stupid Africa has become. This is a military alliance with France, Germany, the EU and the World Bank as its founding members. It was later joined by joined by Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

The Sahel Alliance was officially launched by announcing the implementation of over 500 projects between 2018 and 2022. This entails EUR 6bn of investments for the Sahel region.

Members of the Sahel (G5) are :

BURKINAFASO

CHAD

MALI

MAURITANIA

NIGER

All French-speaking countries. As if that’s not bad enough the membership of three new countries – Italy, Spain and the UK – in this unique initiative is a sign that development actors are mobilizing for the Sahel region. This makes the Sahel Alliance the most powerful organisation in Africa, with gresater clout than the African Union.

But what brought about the Sahel alliance?

On 13 July 2017, during the Franco-German Council of Ministers, France, Germany and the European Union, along with the World Bank, African Development Bank (AfDB) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), proposed an international cooperation platform for the Sahel region with the aim of taking more and better action there.

The Sahel Alliance aims to achieve more effective aid coordination and enhance the support from development partners to the region, in order to more generally contribute to stabilizing the security situation, improving energy infrastructure and the fight against climate change, and strengthening governance.

In February 14 2018, EU 6 billion ($9 billion USD) was released for investments in the Sahel Region.

So here we have another European organization having primacy in Africa. What necessitated the need for the creation of another organization in Africa when the continent already has the most number of organisations and institutions in the world.

AU (AFRICAN UNION)

AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB)

SADC (South African Development Community)

ECOWAS (Economic Community of West african States)

NEPAD (New Partnership For Africa Development)

IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority on Development)

On top of this we have ECOMOG, Africa’s only security alliance. ECOMOG is the only security alliance that has the right to intervene military in any ECOWAS member states without authority should the need be.

Related image
AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. This beautiful edifice was built by China as a gift to the African Union.

With this many organisations the powers that be can best help Africa by supporting these institutions on a continental and regional basis. The SAHEL G5 is Empire By Invitation. Little suprise developments like these are only between Francophone states, never with Anglophone states. Why is that? Years of indoctrination. French-speaking Africa is the least independent nations on the African continent. They are the ones inviting the powers that be. They have mo concept of what a truly independent country look like. It’s such a shame.

Libyan strongman once advocated for the creation of the United States of Africa. A continent with a single military apparatus. He paid dearly for this with his life. And what country was it that pushed for the attack on Libya? no surprise, FRANCE.

A Unified African Military will mean the end of the exploitation of the African continent. Powers like France will no longer be able to exploit the historic divisions amongst Africans to achieve her goal.

What will a United African Military Force mean?

When we talk about a African Army what exactly do we mean? A single or common AU army? An intergovernmental army, or an army under the command of African institutions? An army that is composed of national contingents or an army made of African soldiers? Depending on the answer to these questions, the scenarios that emerge are very diverse, whether it be an (improbable) configuration of 52 countries, or a model that combines few select Member States by way of Permanent Structured Cooperation.

A single, intergovernmental African army

This would be a more or less organic alliance among all or some of the national armies of the Member States, a sort of African version of ECOMOG. where authority would remain in the hands of the states themselves.

In this updated scenario, the whole of each national army would pass under an intergovernmental African authority yet still remain under its own country’s authority for all practical purposes (decision-making power, organization and budget on the one hand, and veto power at the level of African intergovernmental institutions).

Now, to be realistic, unlike the rest of the world, development among Africans is not even. There are smaller states that will not be willing or able to contribute anything substantial, but that wont be necessary really. The deterrence powerful backers that Egypt, South Africa and Nigeria guarantees, the strengthen of the regular armies Nigerian, Egyptian and South African armies. Powerful armies that will basically be at the service of these smaller countries, like Nigeria has done with ECOMOG.

A single, joint African army

In this scenario, national armies would be incorporated into a larger African army placed under the authority of common African institutions like the AU for the authority to intervene

But this scenario is not without its own particularly problematic issues. To begin with, it presupposes being able to join national armies whose traditions, modes of organization and engagement are often very different, especially when we are not able to count on the power or harmonizing support of Francophone states, more loyal to Paris than Adisababa.

It also implies managing, on the one hand, the great tension between a common African decision-making structure and, on the other, the means (the armies themselves) that continue to take their orders from their respective Member States.

While Nigeria and South Africa and Ethiopia unquestionably boasts the most effective army among Sub Sahara Africans nations, enjoying the highest level of autonomy, this does not in any way make its army one that can single-handedly counter the threats that Africa currently faces.

This was amply demonstrated by France’s muddled intervention in Burkina Faso, when French mercenaries carried out a coup de tat against a sitting president, or Libya, which was bombed by NATO aircrafts, as well as the disrespect to the continent by the ICJ’s arrests of sitting African Presidents for trials in the ICJ without due process or regard for the African Union.

In 2015 during a State visit to South Africa by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashi, the JCJ ordered the South African government to arrest the Sudanese President and hand him over to the ICJ for crimes. Here is the ICJ, an organization issuing out commands to one of Africa’s most powerful country to arrest the leader of another sovereign African country who has arrived the country on an official state visit. Jacob Zuma of course refused.

Then the ICJ requested an explanation on why South Africa failed to arrest Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir during his visit, as they mull whether to report the country to the United Nations for possible action. This will not be tolerated elsewhere in the world. Only in Africa.

The undeniable advantages of a joint, common African army.

The first, and indisputable, merit of this army is that its mere presence would contribute to the cohesion of an exploited continent in dire need of cohesion. Through the institutional process that it would be a part of, it would represent an opportunity and means of creating a space for building trust among Member States in an area rife with suspicion, mistrust, long-standing rivalries and consolidated national interests.

The mere existence of this army would bolster our defense against western powers. This army would help to establish a foreign policy and policy of common security, as Africans, and as a result, to regain footing in the “hot” areas where the powers that be are consolidating their influence by supporting rogue regimes.

This army would contribute to the emergence of a generally self-sufficient African arms market, and as a result, a more integrated African defense industry. Companies like Dennel and ProForce will generate revenue for their respective governments. By so doing, it would allow us to eventually marry foreign policy to arms sales, and no longer base foreign policy on the possible on economic aid from the West.

It would represent the beginnings of a response to the feeling of powerlessness instilled in African citizens by decades of inability to respond politically and in good time to the crises, wars and genocides perpetrated Africa, often times with external elements at play.

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