A Statement of the Socialist International Africa Committee
Meeting of the SI Africa Committee, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, 28-29 March 2014
The members of the Socialist International Africa Committee meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 28-29, 2014 reaffirmed their resolve to work together for the promotion of peace and resolution of conflicts in Africa and for the promotion of democracy and good governance and the economic participation, empowerment and emancipation of African people in line with our socialist ideals. Furthermore, the Socialist International Africa Committee takes cognizance of the fact that:
1. Peace and conflict resolution in Africa
Without peace there is no development and without development there is no peace. This nexus underscores the fact that conflicts, wars, insecurity and instability are very expensive to African countries and should be avoided at all costs and where necessary resolved quickly to bring peace to people. The Committee reiterates its commitment to mobilise members to arrest the increase and intensity of growing internal conflicts in African nations in recent years and calls for a joint formidable network against conflict making and by putting in place a mechanism of early warning that will be able to detect fault-lines. It resolves to help African nations develop, defend and promote and sustain peace as a necessary condition for Africa's development agenda and for the much needed economic growth. The Members also are committed to help solve the youth unemployment problem and build youth peace volunteer brigades for the promotion of peace in their respective countries.
It is of the utmost urgency that the violence that has afflicted the people of the Central African Republic be brought to an end. The brutal killings, which in some cases have been described as amounting to genocide, is leading the country to the point of self- destruction. The Committee agreed on the sending of a mission to the Central African Republic to see how the SI can contribute to ending the carnage. The consequences of the open confrontation by the two warring factions in South Sudan on its people and their ongoing suffering demand an immediate end to this conflict and respect for the agreed ceasefires. It is paramount that the wealth available to this new country be used for the benefit of its much postponed population whose interests should come first in the agendas of both sides. The Committee equally agreed on the visit of a mission to South Sudan as soon as possible.
The Committee, while referring to previous resolutions, recommends the engagement of a sound dialogue between all groups and parties both in Morocco and Western Sahara for a peaceful and mutually accepted solution.
2. Democracy and Good Governance
The Committee addressed the issues of democracy and good governance, taking into consideration in their debates the valuable experience of Tanzania.
It acknowledged that the case of Tanzania clearly demonstrates that multi-party democracy is the only framework that leads to solid institutions and good governance. Since 1995,
Tanzania has held four general elections which have been declared as free and fair, and today there are 19 registered political parties in the country. In Africa generally, the political space given to community based organisations, as well as NGOs and other interest groups, has led to the further deepening and consolidation of democracy.
It was recognised that political and social exclusion as well as economic deprivation impede any form of real democracy and leads to conflict.
In the case of developing countries, like in Africa, the formulation of policies that ensure the economics of inclusion contributes to the democratisation of wealth, another fundamental factor in securing democracy. This must include farmers in rural areas so they are empowered to participate in the mainstream value chain and small traders in urban areas who need to be organised and enabled to take part in the wealth-generating process. Similarly, funding and credit for business must be accessible and affordable to ensure that through economic democracy, political democracy is achievable.
3. Economic Development and Economic Participation
For the members of the Committee, economic well-being and economic empowerment and participation is the main vehicle for peace and the fight against poverty in Africa. People’s collective participation in national economic development unleashes communities’ resources, human physical and mental labour necessary for national development and improved social welfare for the greater majority in line with aspirations of a socialist society. Africa needs such an approach that will take the continent away from the scourge of deadly and costly internal wars and persistent conflicts. The Committee notes with concern that despite its rich natural resources, most African states have failed to utilise this great wealth in the continent to develop their countries and get rid of poverty. In many of these African states there still exists the need to address the issue of accountability to their people as well as social and economic exclusion. Such practices in Africa are the ‘original sin’ that sow the seeds for persistent conflicts, lack of peace and economic development, poverty and poor social conditions for the greater African majority. The Committee resolves to continue networking and stand together to champion for economic emancipation of the greater majority in Africa and for economic development of African states. It urges that Africa's peace and progress shall be dependent on its economic development, in particular the extent to which the majority of the people, especially the poor, are emancipated and empowered. The Committee urges its members to address these issues through Socialist policies and principles, the policies that enhance economic freedom, and increase communities’ economic participation. Finally the Committee appeals for its members to be committed to the cause of the common people, for their economic well-being and to the caring of their nations’ citizens.
Participants at the meeting in Dar es Salaam were committed to moving forward with resolve and initiative to face the new challenges ahead in the fulfillment of their common principles and values at this time of much needed social democratic answers and solutions, to help transform the African continent into a region of peace, stability and democracy, where its people can enjoy the virtues of social justice, opportunity and progress.
The Africa Committee members equally reaffirmed their full commitment and support for the Socialist International and strongly opposed the efforts of those within the organisation to undermine it. Today’s International is open, inclusive and democratic through the decisions adopted by its membership at the last Socialist International Congress in Cape Town, the first ever held on the African continent.
All participants at the meeting expressed their recognition of the host party, the Chama Cha Mapinduzi, CCM, and H. E. President Kikwete for the warm fraternal welcome they had received and the camaraderie shown to them on the occasion of this meeting. At the same time, they recorded their congratulations for the advances and progress of the country and its people under the leadership of President Kikwete and the CCM.