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Joint Radical Militarisation May Be AU’s Only Hope for Africa’s Lasting Peace

The new Africa needs an army first, then a political union will follow.

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On May 25, 2024, African leaders met in Dar es Salaam to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the Peace and Security Council (PSC); it turns out there was nothing to celebrate. After 20 years, Africa has been bleeding in the centre, the east, the west, the horn, and the south. 

The Sahel is in turmoil, Congo DR’s bloody history continues, and Sudan doesn’t seem to run out of bullets. If the PSC were a man, it would be contemplating an early marriage or a bachelor’s degree graduation. 

However, at 20, the body has remarkably failed, and all the leaders did at the colloquium was complain! In their fancy Western-style suits and some African posh attires, they looked like rich kids who struggled to understand a poor family’s struggles with basic necessities. Is it high time we considered an all-out, centralised militarisation of the continent?

Since the formation of the current version of the African Union (AU), conferences have always been about statements and complaints about colonialism and foreign influence, but none about internal deficiencies. They have always been empty, powerless, hopeless statements. 

The PSC’s birthday party was ruined by concerns about failure reminiscent of past AU summit messages. Complaints overshadowed the grandiose feeling of an anniversary.

READ MORE: 20 Years of Africa Union Peace and Security Council: Leaders Reflect on Old Conflicts, Resurgence of Unconstitutional Change of Government and Terrorism Challenges

The former and current heads of state and governments acknowledged the PSC’s limited success in relation to earlier expectations. They decried rampant coups that have plagued Africa and other long-standing internal conflicts. In their submissions, they evidently pointed to the PSC’s tied hands.

List of troubles

The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, presented a long list of troubles the PSC faces and those it has failed to solve. He described the PSC as a powerless organ that lacks enforcement power to implement many AU statements and directives. 

He cited the recent unconstitutional change of governments in the Sahel region, where AU and regional group ECOWAS have been forced to watch from a distance and are powerless to change the course of events. 

Most importantly, Mr Faki reported that all AU bodies suffer severe budgetary constraints, and PSC is no exception. Watching the continent’s generational leadership cry, from the legendary Olusegun Okikiola Obasanjo to Jakaya Kikwete, then Moussa Faki and Samia Suluhu, no African would be optimistic. I am not!

Since the PSC has co-existed with instability and bloodshed, the issues it was meant to end, should the AU consider a one military, one rule structure? I don’t want to sound like a warmonger or an imperialist; I am a harmless realist.

READ MORE: Democracy in Africa Has Become a Manure to Make Despotic Fields Greener

Throughout history, militaries have stepped in for failed treaties and talks. Sometimes, a mere military posture wins a standoff without firing a single bullet – we call it deterrence. Would General Mamady Doumbouya consider a coup in Niger if he knew there was no army in his country? 

Centralised army

Would he stand up against a million or so- strong army and prevail with 20, 50, 100 men? Or would Libya fall if Africa had an army strong enough to give anyone a bloody nose?

I envision an African Union with a single, centralised military in my fantasy world. 

I see a two-million-strong armed force policing the continent, clearing out elements of rebellion, coups, foreign invasions, and any forms of conflict. I dream of a confederation where military power is a union matter—no member state runs an army. 

There are no drums of war between Rwanda and Congo DR, no border skirmishes between Kenya and Somalia’s Alsha Baab, and, of course, there is no Sudan Army, so no fighting factions. This way, Mr Faki wouldn’t be blaming a powerless PSC for Captain Ibrahim Traore’s triumph in Burkina Faso or similar scenarios in Niger, Guinea and Mali.

Uniting Mickey Mouse militaries across the continent shouldn’t be hard, but it is. These are the only umbrellas that keep many in power. I doubt Yoweri Museveni of Uganda would be ready to relinquish his military power to the AU, having built it around his son for decades. 

READ MORE: New Scramble for Africa: It Is Time for Africa-Africa Summit

What about Kagame? Or Cameroon’s lifelong president, Paul Biya, with 42 years of power? It’s not easy, but the AU can only be sure of monitoring peace if it controls the continent’s military. A joint military organisation would ensure more stability, advanced weaponry, and relatively more international recognition – just a bit more.


In isolation, African militaries are incapable of solving anything. Congo DR has failed to end the consistent rebel infiltration, Gaddafi could not fend off foreign invasion, and Patrice Lumumba suffered at the hands of the foreigners who feared nothing at the continent level. 

A recent unification of Sahel Junta forces is a proper example of the force Africa should be seeking. Although the juntas are unconstitutional, they have shown that a united military front can make a force as formidable as ECOWAS, backed by Western powers, think twice.

The world is turning to 19th-century nationalistic ideologies where countries think about their own interests. Africa is caught up in the middle, with many conflicts that even the Peace and Security Council cannot solve. 

The only remedy to African misery is a united military front that brings together all the armed forces of the African states and denies such powers to individual states. Kwame Nkrumah’s idea was very close to this one—a centrally commanded union. 

READ MORE: Making Sense of Coups and Democratic Renewal in Africa

Tanzania’s founding leader, Julius Nyerere, punched it with his impractical ‘incremental gains union’, a piece-by-piece approach, and both failed. The new Africa needs an army first, then a political union will follow. 

We only need to strengthen the PSC and the Commission Chairperson more than the heads of member states, and the rest will fall into place.
Festo Mulinda is a political analyst and writer who writes about local and international politics. He can be reached at or on X as @fmulinda_III. The opinions expressed here are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chanzo. If you are interested in publishing in this space, please contact our editors at

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2 Responses

  1. Sadly, African amrmies are not there to protect people against anything foreign or internal that does not threaten the President. Provided these conflicts do not irritate the leaders, the armies are at ease

  2. Sadly, African armies are not there to protect people against anything foreign or internal that does not threaten the President. Provided these conflicts do not irritate the leaders, the armies are at ease

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