The African Union (AU) has called on its member states to embrace mediation and dialogue in the wake of increasing conflicts in the continent.
The AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki urged African leaders to reject the use of force and violence as a solution to its problems.
“As an alternative to violence, we have resolutely opted for the path of dialogue, the peaceful path, the path seeking consensus,” he said.
The Pan-African body concluded its 12th Annual High-Level Retreat on the promotion of peace, security and stability in Africa on Wednesday.
The three-day meeting in Nairobi brought together top leaders among them Nigeria’s former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, the current AU envoy for the Horn of Africa, and Goodluck Jonathan, the West African bloc, Ecowas, envoy for Mali, ex-president Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and FemWise Africa co-chair Catherine Samba Panza (former interim president of the Central African Republic) and others.
The forum was held at a time of increased hostilities in many African countries including military coups.
Terrorism, violent extremism, the ideology of hate, human trafficking, mercenaries and mercantile crimes were cited as factors contributing to the instability.
Mr Faki challenged member states to candidly question their individual ownership of mediation and dialogue processes while building the capacities of AU liaison offices and special envoys for the sake of peace.
“The classic methods of combating the vectors of violence are therefore becoming frankly obsolete. Peace cannot be established by resorting to cumbersome, costly, excessively bureaucratic and totally defensive mechanisms.”
“Since the enemy of peace changes, what could be more rational than changing the weapons and the mode of combat?” posed Mr Faki.
Bankole Adeoye, AU commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, told the forum that the continental bloc has developed an early warning response mechanism to prevent conflicts from taking root.
"We will not be indifferent in a situation where peace and security in Africa is threatened," Mr Adeoye said during the meeting on silencing guns in the new decade.
He urged governments to address the structural drivers of instability in the region.
The AU official observed that issues of governance, the proliferation of weapons as well as high levels of youth unemployment were also some of the factors behind the instability.
He stressed that AU has a zero-tolerance policy on unconstitutional change of government.
"No coup is justified and the AU is ready to intervene to take necessary steps to suspend any member state that has an unconstitutional change of government," he added.
Mr Adeoyo said the AU is committed to the promotion of democracy and good governance so that citizens can benefit from peace dividends.
He said the pan African body is ready to support stakeholders in every country to promote inclusive engagement that will reduce conflict.
Africa currently hosts seven out of the 14 ongoing UN peacekeeping missions globally and several regional AU peacekeeping initiatives.
Projections show that by 2030, 620 million people or more than 80 percent of the world’s poorest could be living in a fragile context largely in Africa with a youthful population deprived of education, gainful employment and a political voice playing a key role in driving conflict and violence.