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Taming the Tigray typhoon

It is, indeed, telling that it took the intervention of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo as the African Union High Representative to the Horn of Africa to bring to a halt the conflicts

The commander-in-chief of the Tigray rebel forces General Tadesse Worede (L) and the chief of staff of the Ethiopian Armed Forces Field Marshal Berhanu Jula (2nd R), greet with former Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo (2nd L) and Kenya’s former President Uhuru Kenyatta (R) after the signing ceremony of the declaration of the senior commanders meeting on the implementation of the Ethiopia permanent cessation of hostilities agreement between the government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Nairobi on November 12, 2022. – The restoration of desperately needed humanitarian assistance to the region is one of the key planks of a peace deal between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) to end two years of brutal war in northern Ethiopia. (Photo by Yasuyoshi CHIBA / AFP)

Sir: It is, indeed, telling that it took the intervention of former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo as the African Union High Representative to the Horn of Africa to bring to a halt the conflicts in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and broker what little peace there is even if history suggests it may turn out to be a peace of the graveyard in the long run.

It is not for nothing that to this day, Africa is being referred to as `the dark continent.’ This denotation may as well harbour many hues of racism, but removed from the brush and tar of bias, there are many man-made factors that continue to cause darkness to emit from the heart of Africa.

That a continent of such staggering riches continues to play second fiddle to less gifted continents of the world scandalously indicts all those who have managed and today continue to manage the countries that make up Africa and have contributed to the heartbreaking suffering of its women and children.

Africa is the second largest and second most populous continent. It also has a large population of very young people. Given these magnificent resources, why is it that Africa is not as developed as it should be? Why has Africa continued to bring up the rear in many of the categories used to gauge human development and well-being? One of the strongest factors is conflicts.

In spite of the UN Charter, devastating conflicts have rocked many parts of the world since 1945 with tragic consequences. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, it was a clear reminder to the world that war remains a dangerous option, especially for the warmongers who pose as leaders in different countries.

In November 2020, a devastating civil war erupted in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. In just over two years of a senseless conflict, all manner of atrocities has been committed especially against children and women there to highlight the tragic consequences of war.

The conflict was also responsible for driving the risk of hunger in a region known for its food insecurity as a result of excessive droughts and displacing more than two million Ethiopians.

For Africa to truly find itself on the path of prosperity like so many other countries, violent conflicts and the factors that fuel them must be checked. These needless conflicts which disproportionately affect women and children can have no space in any African country whatsoever if Africans are ever to hope for a continent of shared progress and prosperity.

• Kene Obiezu (Twitter: @kenobiezu).