By Jessica Ahedor
The Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has called on the members of the ECOWAS states and businesses within the region to create and provide a budgetary allocation to spearhead the work of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) providing peace for the continent.
This, he said should be done by availing a portion of ECOWAS levy to professional CSOs with track records for peace building activities such as West Africa Network for peace building Headquartered here in Ghana. The Vice President Bawumia who was speaking on behalf of the president, on the theme “The future of peace and security in democratic societies: the complimentary roles of CSOs” at the 20th-anniversary celebration of the West Africa Network for Peace building (WANEP) admonished that, the peace in Africa should not be taken for granted. “We cannot do anything without peace and so we should invest in peace as we invest in other parts of society”.
He maintained the roles and contributions of CSOs to nation building continues to evolve and has now revolved around the key issues of human security, economic empowerment, political transition, budget monitory amongst others hence must be given the needed support. But in a quick rebuttal to that call, the Executive Director of WANEP Dr Chukuemeka Eze says it is the role of every government to invest in peace and stability of its nation.
Dr Eze stated that, peace building processes and its responsibilities are governments mandates and must be invested into by none other than individual countries. ‘’ You cannot want Africa solution to African problems by depending on external parties’’
He added even though it is not out of place for the vice president to call on the ECOWAS and Businesses within the region to commit resources into peace building process, the number one step must be taken by the various governments.
He pointed out over 90 per cent of WANEP funding are outside the African region, a situation that does not auger well for the organisation in terms of programming, agenda implementation and ownership.
He enumerated the challenges the organization is battling with saying funding is a number one hurdle that CSOs face on the continent. Adding governments’ perception about civil society organizations has always been that CSOs are against them, thereby making it difficult to create that peaceful environment for co-existence.
Although WANEP has calve a niche for itself on the continent, identifying people in the sub-region for capacity building was initially tough, at the local level since the modern state does not take into cognisant conflict prevention and management along state development. He added resources used in acquiring and procuring military gadgets are always bigger than investing in peace on the continent. He however called for the gender disparity gap and patriarchal society on the sub-region to be bridged to achieve peace and stability.
On his part, the head of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahael, UNOWAS, Dr Mohammed Ibn Chambas commended WANEP for its immersed role in peace building and conflict prevention in West Africa.