|Mr Patrick Agbambu, CEO SWA|
The International Coordinator, Security Watch Africa (SWA) Awards and Lecture, Mr Patrick Agbambu has said that the major security problem in Africa emanates from “bad leadership”.
Mr Agbambu was speaking to Gambian journalists on Monday during a press conference on the “8th edition of the 2011 SWA Awards and Lecture” at a local hotel at Brufut, Kombo north district, West Coast region of The Gambia.
Mr Agbambu, who was responding to a variety of security issues, said the post election crisis in the West African state of Ivory Coast was actually touching to his organisation, Security Watch Africa. “What was supposed to bring joy to the people of Cote d’Ivoire, ended up in war,” he lament.
In disapproval, Mr Agbambu said he believe in an African solution to African problems while responding to a question on Western interference in Africa’s security affairs as in the case of the imposition of a no-fly zone and a subsequent regime change in Libya.
“Actually you have just touched me emotionally, I am an African and I believe in the African way of doing things”, said Mr Agbambu, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of SWA.
“The West only interferes in the security of Africa where they have a selfish interest. I have always asked where were they when Liberia and Sierra Leone were in turmoil. The United Nations only came in after they realise it was safe enough to do so; it was ECOMOG that sacrificed to end these wars.”
Another issue of insecurity on the continent is the famine in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, however, Mr Agbambu believe that hunger should never be an issue in Africa.
He stressed: “We have no cause to be hungry in Africa. The most fertile lands are found in Africa, so why should we go hungry. Even the so-called deserts in Africa are fertile, it has been proven in Libya.”
He noted that SWA’s lectures mainly target the educated elite, who are the real problem on the continent of Africa. Hence, they would be involved awareness creation in a series of media interactions, also during interactions with the Gambian authorities, and the communities, including those living in rural areas.
“The people in rural communities are not the problems in terms of security in Africa; it is the educated elite who are the real problem,” he argued.
On the Awards and Lecture, he said it was initiated in 2004 to motivate African countries to encourage and boost the security awareness and consciousness in their citizenry. It is also intended to encourage governments, individuals and organisations that put up so much effort to secure their environment and their country.
The 8th edition of SWA 2011 Awards and Lecture will be held in Banjul, The Gambia on October 13-14 under the theme “Security and Infrastructure: Can Africa Get It Right?”
He also told journalists that the initiative has gained tremendous impact on the previous awardees and societies. “We have seen some improvement in their services,” said Mr Agbambu.
Though he falls short of listing the challenges SWA faces as an organisation, he noted that they are not without challenges. “We live in Africa, and Africa is a continent where even as an individual, one has to face challenges, so do organisations.”
He also noted that SWA work closely with ECOWAS Commission and the Accra-based West African Trade Hub in monitoring the Member States that are committed to the implementation of the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Services.
For this reason, he said SWA will present awards to West African leaders who are committed to the implementation of the Protocol instituted by the sub-regional economic bloc 32 years ago (May 29, 1979). SWA have also been able to identify security problems in West Africa and put it to the ECOWAS Commission to work on them, especially in areas where some member countries are dragging.
“Gambia has so far achieved 70 percent on the implementation of the protocol on free movement,” he claimed.
The SWA CEO said The Gambia as host will benefit a lot as the country will be added into the “map of friendly and receptive destinations” in Africa. “It will help showcase the current development taking place in the country and project the government as security-conscious and friendly.
Author: Modou S. Joof for The Voice Newspaper