Peace is the sine qua non to the interpersonal relationship and human co-existence. It is, indeed, a priceless, undeniable recipe for socio-political and cultural development and prosperity. Both on the personal and interpersonal levels, we hardly can achieve much without peace. On the other hand, conflicts can lead to unnecessary destruction – personally and internationally.
However, some have equally argued that it takes conflicts, for example, war, to bring peace. Perhaps, that may be, in some cases, true, but do we really need to reach that stage of war and destruction in our attempt to bring peace? I doubt that obvious irony, indeed. Furthermore, what quality of “peace” are we talking about? Sadly, one thing about conflict is, it might indeed, eventually lead to peace – and respect – but at what cost? Does war create a sense of distrust and suspicion even after the conflict? It, in fact, in most cases, does. Look back. Go back to Somalia, Nigeria, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, Libya, Angola, Mozambique, Vietnam, Iraq, former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Afghanistan etc. Even though peace may have returned to most of those countries after wars or conflicts, the situation is not – and can never be – the same. The air of suspicion, distrust and even leper type relationship are all clearly poisoned in those countries. How about South Africa? With its apartheid history, has the White – Black relationship in that country been normalized? Your guess as good as mine. A good reason to not allow any situation to go beyond a peaceful co-existence.
Of course, sometimes, conflicts are inevitable, but a lasting peace can only be achieved by the parties involved, through determination, compromises and sacrifices. How true is this in African countries? More often than not, leaders hang on to power. They rather die in power than allow a successor. Why must some believe that every situation is permanent? No situation is. Not even one’s life or existence in this world. Staying in power at all costs should not be the case. Criticisms and opposition are often taken as personal assaults, instead of being seen as a constructive correction. Is correction not an essential nucleus for self-reflection and adjustments? For many African leaders, it is not. It has to be either my way or nothing. That gives no room for accepting or critically looking at others’ point of view – an ingredient for conflict.
After many years of hostilities and war rhetoric, which have set the world shivering and indeed, almost on a brink of war, the USA and North Korea are planning for a historic meeting in May. Has some degree of the senses come back to the two die-hard, egoistic, psyche, narcissistic leaders in Donald Trump of the USA and his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong-un? With the stockpiles of nuclear arsenals in their countries, are the notorious leaders just trying to avoid political – and indeed, personal – annihilation? Could they be, honestly trying to pursue a true peace? Are they just buying time? Or have they suddenly become politically born-again?
We have had many peace accords in South Sudan, a country blessed with enormous mineral and human resources, albeit, heading towards a failed state. A thought of the Democratic Republic of Congo would definitely force any peace-loving individual to diligently look for God’s WhatsApp number. If Cambridge Analytica has not got hold of it and asked for billions of dollars before it is released, one definitely, needs God’s telephone number to ask why these leaders sitting in a country blessed with, perhaps, more natural minerals than in any other country in the world, would rather prefer to chew the seed of foolishness and destruction, instead of applying the common sense and embracing peace for prosperity and progress of their country. Peace accord. Peace accord. Are you still counting? Yes, we saw it many times in South Sudan. In the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Somalia. In Burundi. In the Central African Republic. Sleeping or still counting? Absolutely, so many fruitless peace accords in Africa, to the extent that some shrewd business individuals have, perhaps, found another lucrative business to go into – selling of pens and papers. Promises were made. So were handshakes. At the end of the day, it became clear what the parties involved wanted – real peace or just a camouflage aimed at buying time and consolidating one’s position politically and otherwise?
So when you hear about the historic meeting of two arch-rivals Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, coming up in May, what goes on in your mind? A real and rare opportunity for peace and avoid nuclear war or just another political chess game, tailored towards lifting up the international sanctions against North Korea, which, if lifted, will bring in billions of much needed foreign currency to the cryptic regime in Pyongyang as well as feed the starving average North Korean? Will this be the epoch meeting, which will send a serious message to African leaders, that the world wants nothing but a real peace, which will benefit Africans and the world in general? The world is anxiously watching. And waiting.