Preceding the US Iran standoff, as a result of the killing of a top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani by the US government, the standoff had sparked off rumors of war while exposing the fragility of global peace, Ruth Tene Natsa writes on the discuss where stakeholders advocate inclusion as panacea for global violence.
This is even as the United states Institute of Peace (USIP)-convened Task Force on extremism in fragile states, in its final report to Congress concluded that the United States can no longer rely solely on counter-terrorism to stave off the threat of violent extremism. Rather, to get ahead of the challenge, the U.S. must focus on eradicating terrorism’s root causes by encouraging good governance and political reforms in fragile states.
The world today is overwhelmed by all forms of violence ranging from terrorism, religious violence, political and even economic violence, ensuring that the world seems to be seating on a keg of gun powder likely to explode anytime soon.
It is therefore no wonder that experts drawn from various fields have advocated a governance agenda for preventing violence in a fragile world while mobilizing the International Community to strengthen state-society relations in fragile States
In a discussion by USIP, the National Democratic Institute, and the George W. Bush Institute, experts stated that more research had revealed the linkages between poor governance, instability, and violence, the international policy community must develop a shared understanding of how support for responsive and responsible governance in fragile states can prevent violent extremism.
Thought leaders including USAID Administrator Mark Green and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright—from across the peace building, development, security, and democracy and governance communities explored the unique factors that democracy and governance strategies face in fragile states, as well as how various disciplines can collaborate on donor strategies that build state accountability and effectiveness alongside citizen engagement and inclusion.
Other Speakers including Executive Director, YIAGA Africa and Convener, Not Too Young to Run Movement, Samson Itodo, President & CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace Hon. Nancy Lindborg, President, National Democratic Institute Ambassador Derek Mitchell and Mr. Lindsay Lloyd as well as Director of the Human Freedom Initiative, George W. Bush Institute, Bradford M. Freeman formed part of the panelists who advocated inclusion as key to combating global fragility in today’s world.
President of the National Democratic Institute, Ambassador Derek Mitchell said the event was a true institutional collaboration , stating that the genesis of the meeting was an idea from NDI’s Chair, Secretary Albright who was an outspoken task force member.
Presenting the Keynote Address, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development Honorable Mark Green said he understood why lots of people were confounded by happenings in the Congo DRC as the Ebola outbreak was the second deadliest in history and continues to claim lives even though there are vaccines. He said the insecurity is so great that humanitarian and aid workers are unable to get to some of the hot spots. He said in this confusion they have come to understand that these same communities are those that had been betrayed by their leaders for so long. As DRC has an abundance of officials more concerned with self enrichment than serving everyday people an election system so broken that most of the ebola affected communities weren’t even allowed to vote in the last election, and a political system so messed up that Joseph Kabila is still serving in Congress with his family still appearing to still be holding hundreds of millions of dollars in mining interest.
Referencing the Haitians who had witnessed one of the worst hurricanes in history, Mr Green noted that they were more outraged by the political class who had let them down time and again.
“History tells us that states with more characteristics are better economic partners because they possses the characteristic we believe are vital for economic vibrancy and stable growth, they are better strategic partners making them less likely to produce terrorists, proliferate weapons of mass destruction or engage in mass destruction”
“As we look to troubled lands and fragile, I think these are the principles we need to keep in mind and that is why the USAID is placing stronger emphasis on fostering governance, citizens responsiveness, we believe it is crucial.
“We have institutionalize it through our transformation process that aims to build USAID up tomorrow. Among other things we are launching a new bureau for Development, Democracy and Innovation (DDI) it will bring expertise from across the agencies and serve as a one stop shop for technical support and designing solicitation programme, It will elevate democracy and governance with the goal of promoting human liberty and citizens responsiveness in all of our programmes”
In his position, Samson Itodo noted that the task force report had a connection between the nexus of the leadership recruitment process, governance and fragility. “What we have today are fractured societies between states and citizens because our elections are typified by violence, money politics and we don’t evolve with responsive, accountable and transparent leaders, so the first preoccupation of leaders when they get into office is about recouping the money that they spent during the elections or serving their own primordial objectives, but it isn’t about the people”.
“So at the heart of fragility and violence is exclusion, both economic and political. If you take responsiveness and accountability out of the democratic process, you just have leaders who simply run the affairs of state without regards of the people”.
He noted Uganda where Bobby Wine is unable to run for office because of the clampdown by the government of the day criminalizing political aspirations. Similarly in Liberia where George Wear enjoyed popular support, today the citizens are discontent with the leadership of, if you come to Nigeria, there is a connection as well.
Itodo maintained “That is why if you fix elections, politics, there is a possibility that it will revolve with transparent and accountable leaders who will deliver the dividends of democracy but at the heart of that, you empower the power. If we do not put people at the center of governance then the attempt to bridge the relationship between states and citizens will be a mirage”
The Youth activist maintained “We need a new political mobilization strategy to advance the discuss that would inspire active citizenship in Africa and puts people in the center of power, also how it strengthens capacity of CSOs to engage with the states, whether institutionally or financial capacity at both national and local levels to address some of the factors that drive fragility, dislodging both political and economic equality and how it promotes leadership and political transition from one generation to another, these he said “will deliver on the gains of the recommendations of the USIP report”.