African countries urged to embrace dialogue in conflict resolution

New book calls for African countries to embrace dialogue and mediation in resolving diplomatic and border conflicts.

Two Tanzanian authors are calling for African countries to embrace dialogue and local mediation in resolving diplomatic and border conflicts.

According to James Zotto and Maxmillan Chuhila, authors of the book ‘Hurdles and Prospects of African Integration’, dialogue is key in addressing the challenges hindering African integration.

In their book, the authors highlight the hurdles and prospects of African integration, using the question of Western Sahara as a case scenario.

Among the challenges that hinder African integration are historical divisions,economic disparities, security concerns, infrastructure deficits, and governance complexities.

 The Sahara dispute, which has existed for over four decades, has yet to find a friendly resolution, with Morocco claiming sovereignty over Western Sahara while the polisario wants Sahara to be an independent entity.

 In pointing out some of the hurdles to African integration, the authors say it depends on the sustainability of the political, social, and economic development of the continent. “Massive diversities in these major factors impede a smooth and rapid transition towards an integrated continent.

 “To achieve an integrated continent,countries need to start settling their internal divisions and tensions before advancing to the level of the continent. Understanding the Western Sahara puzzle needs fresh minds that are not enmeshed within the two extremes pointed out above. For nearly five decades now, this question has remained hard to crack because of the approaches taken,said the authors.

 In all the existing Africa disputes, the authors urge the international community and all the concerned parties to redefine the approaches that have unsuccessfully been employed over the decades, owing to the inapplicability of the settlement plan concluded by the Security Council and the lack of consent of the eligible voters.

 African integration has its roots in the Pan-African movement of the early 20th century, which sought to unite Africans in the fight against colonialism and racial discrimination.

 “We use the example of the Western Sahara dispute to analyse African participation in seeking and providing solutions to continental challenges. Scholarship on the question of Western Sahara lies in the ambivalence about excitement and confusion due to the circulation and spread of fake pieces of information.

Examining historiography on this terrain is ambiguous and sometimes misleading. Authors build on the principle that there is danger in a single story because,in the narratives about the history of Western Sahara, one finds enormous errors of omission and commission done by romanticizing,  narrativizing facts, emotions, frustrations, and deliberate attempts at “colouring” history and decorating facts.

 This is true because, throughout the examination of the existing literature, one sees scholars leaning towards their own sides while doing nothing to invite the opposing side into the dialogue. “The author narrates that Scholarships about Western Sahara are often divided into two extremes, taking into consideration the autonomy plan as a realistic and acceptable resolution proposed by the Moroccan government.

 Maximillian Julius Chuhila is an assistant professor at the University of Dar es Salaam Department of History and has previously conducted research and written papers on history, environmental issues, and food security in Africa.

 On the other hand, James Zotto is a lecturer on international border disputes at the University of Dar es Salaam.