Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

By Godfrey Olukya 6-11-2013 


African leaders meeting in South Africa have held the first round of informal consultations between contributing countries on the establishment of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC).

ACIRC is an interim measure to deal with conflict on the continent in the context of African solutions for African problems.

He said a glaring example of how Africans can together solve their problems was recently demonstrated in Somali, where the IGAD (the Intergovernmental Authority on Development) countries decided, after a long period talks, to solve the problem by driving out the insurgents or rebels, and installed a proper government.

The meeting held at Oliver Tambo building was attended by the President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Idriss Derby of Chad and the host President Jacob Zuma. The purpose of the summit is to consult with volunteering countries that have expressed willingness to contribute to ACIRC and to consider modalities for the operationalization of ACIRC, to identify ways of supporting ACIRC and to hasten its operationalization.

President  Zuma in his opening remarks said that the decision to form ACIRC came due to the realization that independent and swift African response to crises that arise on our continent could not wait for the full organization of African Standby Force.

“While we fully support the realization of the standby force, we believe that the time has come that African Leaders must be able to act in the interim, swiftly, decisively and when needed.” he said.

President Zuma said that time has come for African countries to have the capability to intervene in case of a crisis and avoid the need to call on external partners as the case was for Mali. “We need to ensure that we are not helpless or slow to respond without the help of external partners, he said.

He however clarified that the setting up of ACIRC is not to discard the duty of the international community , particularly the United Nations whose security council  has the primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security but to ensure that Africa contributes in a more active and substantive manner to collective security.

The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ambassador Smail Chergui echoed President Zuma’s appeal to volunteering member countries to hasten the operationalization of ACIRC.

He said the continent was unable to respond appropriately to the crisis in Mali, something he said further strengthened the calls for an emergency force to be put in place immediately.

To date, South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia have pledged troops to the interim force. To implement its operations, the ACIRC will have an integrated combat units of 1 500 troops with many specialist capabilities and will be ready to be deployed at short notice. The troops will be drawn from a pool of about 5 000.

A brief statement issued after the talks said the political leaders agreed to establish a working group made up of all chiefs of Defense of volunteering countries. The Heads of State would agree on guidelines to direct the working group in fulfilling its mandate.

The meeting was in line with a decision taken in July by the AU Peace and Security Council to table “practical modalities for the operationalization” of the ACIRC before the end of this year.




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