In Africa, inter-ethnic, regional, and border clashes are the key drivers of conflicts, additionally, the spread of political propaganda and misinformed ideologies are factors that also contribute to acts of violence. Through local and international interventions, systems have been put up to improve justice, coordination, and harmony among African countries. And that has worked, however, in recent years, due to the overlapping economic interests between countries over minerals and other resources, competition has heated up as a result of increased threat perceptions.
These factors have contributed to the resurgence of rebel groups and conflicts which have had terrible effects on the innocent people caught in the crossfire. Countries like Uganda, Nigeria, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, have such rebel groups that threaten the existing peace.
“The only thing I know since I was born is war… Peace has been a dream for a long time now. Peace means everything to me,” says Pacifique Akilimali, a young poet from North Kivu, a province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that has experienced a series of armed conflicts since the end of the Second Congo War, together with another poet from Nigeria, they developed a poem for this year’s International Day of Peacekeepers celebration.
Annually the event is observed by the United Nations to honor and celebrate individuals and organizations who have been relentless in serving communities experiencing conflict by maintaining security, supporting political processes, protecting civilians, providing humanitarian support, and strengthening the rule of law.
This year’s theme is “Peace Begins with Me,” adapted from a poem that honors volunteers who have assisted in restoring the lives, means of subsistence, grit, and resilience of communities affected by conflict. It also reminds us of our duty to advance peace in our communities, country, and the world.