The Africa Committee of the Socialist International, hosted by its two member parties in Mali, the Assembly for Mali, RPM, and the Alliance for Democracy, ADEMA-PASJ, met in Bamako on 10-11 April 2015, to discuss core issues of our International which are crucial today for the countries of the region, those of Security, Democracy and Development for the peoples of Africa.
With regard to Security on the continent, the Committee agreed to adopt a special declaration on the process for peace and national reconciliation in Mali, outlining the main issues involved and the views of the members of the Committee.
Considering that the region is currently facing a significant challenge and threats to peace and stability originating from among others, trafficking of arms and drugs, religious radicalism, insurgencies and terrorist activity, the Committee welcomes the Algiers Accord relating to Mali and encourages all the parties involved to move forward with its conclusion so as to effectively advance the efforts for peace and security throughout the whole Sahel region.
In particular, the Committee calls on all countries in the region to incorporate the objective of security as an integral part of the policies for good governance and for sustainable development. Equally, it calls for the setting in motion of programmes for transnational crime prevention based on extensive collaboration between the different actors in the security sector; the development of an information network to counteract the different types of threats; and a reform of the justice sector to better protect the citizens, to fight against impunity and to guarantee the integrity of all those responsible for discharging justice.
At regional level, the Committee calls for the elaboration and adoption of a common security strategy through a security convention in Africa; the strengthening of capacity building for the defence and security forces; and the creation of an African Fund for Security.
The Committee reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and the resolution of conflicts as well as in the consolidation of peace and reconciliation as defined in the UN Security Council resolution 1325 of 31 October 2000. It also calls on the SI member parties in Africa to advance with the elaboration and implementation of the National Action Plan contained in the Resolution 1325.
Regarding Democracy, effective guarantees for the rights and freedoms of all citizens can only be achieved through regular, free and fair elections by secret vote, as stated in Article 21(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this sense, the Committee calls for the strengthening of democracy through transparency in the management of public affairs, respect for the principle of the separation of powers of the state – the executive, legislative and judiciary; ensuring freedom of the press; and broadening decentralisation through regionalisation to achieve a balanced development.
The efforts to empower people through democracy, to defeat terror and resolve conflicts, will permit us to direct our energy and effort towards advancing our struggle against poverty. Education for all, including women and girls, is important for a stable democracy as well as to overcome the scourge of hunger and want. Good governance in Africa means economic growth and jobs to defeat poverty and unemployment. Removing fear and barriers to inclusion in African societies will empower men and women and the youth to gain a better living, open new opportunities, strengthen health systems, education, social protection, and build a society with more solidarity.
Considering the existing deficit of democracy in a number of countries of the region, the Committee underlines the pressing need to ensure free, transparent and fair elections along with total respect for rights and freedoms and expresses its full solidarity with and support for the SI member parties in Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Mauritania and Swaziland.
Regarding the Central African Republic, the Committee calls for a peaceful end to the transition and expresses its solidarity with the people of that nation, who since 2012 face a chaotic and uncertain situation which threatens to further destabilise the country. The Committee affirms its full support for our comrade Martin Ziguélé in his bid for the presidency.
The Committee supports and encourages the people of Burkina Faso and its transition government, and calls on the international community to closely follow the process and to lend all the support necessary. We extend our encouragement to the progressive forces in that country, including the MPP, taking part in the presidential elections of October 2015.
In Benin we look forward to an alternance of power resulting from free and fair democratic elections and the Committee expresses its best wishes of success to our comrade Emmanuel Golou, in the presidential elections next year.
The SI Africa Committee lends its recognition to H.E. President Mahamadou Issoufou for the advances made in Niger during his first mandate as head of state and expresses its full support and solidarity with him and the PNDS.
The Committee warmly congratulates the APC of Nigeria and President-elect Muhammadu Buhari on their electoral success and expresses its satisfaction at the exemplary opportunity provided for a peaceful transition of power between civilians. We stand ready to support all efforts in Nigeria to consolidate democracy, achieve good and effective governance and to defeat and eliminate terror.
In regard to Western Sahara, the Committee calls for further dialogue leading to the success of a political, peaceful, mutually shared solution by all parties involved, in line with the process underway under the auspices of the United Nations.
With a view to invigorating democratic socialism in Africa, the Committee recommends the creation of a summer university for the education of political actors and to instil the core values of the SI at a time when radicalism, including religious extremism, is on the increase. The Committee agrees to request that the Socialist International seek a status within regional bodies in Africa, such as the African Union, to deepen cooperation which should also be extended to the parliamentary level, aiming to form a socialist group at the Pan African Parliament.
The Committee calls on all its members to adhere to the Socialist International rules and statutes, notably in regard to the payment of their membership fees, which are indispensable for the functioning of the organisation. The Committee expresses its recognition to the SI Secretary General for his efforts towards the good functioning of the Socialist International and its Africa Committee.
The Committee members reaffirm their resolve to deepen their cooperation and to strengthen the shared goals of our International, opposing any attempt to undermine it by alternative alliances which turn their back on the internal democracy and inclusiveness of our movement.
The Africa Committee extends its warm thanks to the RPM and ADEMA-PASJ for their fraternal hospitality in hosting this meeting and its sincere recognition of H.E. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita for his work to implement in Mali the principles and values we share and for his untiring commitment to our International.