The Lomé Peace and Security Forum in Togo, an initiative led by the Togolese government with support from the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN), kicked off on Friday, October 20. The event commenced with a meeting of foreign affairs ministers from ten countries, including those from the Sahel region, such as Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.
While an official ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, October 21, in the presence of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé, the invited ministers from various nations expressed their views candidly regarding the ongoing political transitions in several countries across the sub-region.
A Meeting for Solutions
Adeoye Bankole, Commissioner for Peace and Security at the African Union, stressed the importance of the Lomé gathering, stating, “The Lomé meeting on political transitions should be a meeting for solutions.”
Some participants used this platform to address a critical point: abandoning one partner for another is not a solution. In other words, shifting allegiance, for instance, from France to Russia, does not resolve issues but merely relocates them.
Endogenous Solutions for Political Crises
Several officials from countries led by coup-instated leaders emphasized the need for endogenous solutions to political crises. They pinpointed poor governance as a significant trigger for these coups, which raised questions about the consistency of sub-regional institutions like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), often accused of applying double standards to similar situations.
The Duration of Transitions: A Less-Discussed Topic
However, according to insider information, the duration of political transitions in junta-led countries received minimal attention during the discussions. It is possible that this subject, among others, will resurface during the panels scheduled for Saturday, October 21.
The Lomé Peace and Security Forum serves as a platform for open and candid discussions on pressing regional issues, emphasizing the need for homegrown solutions to political challenges. The insights shared during this forum hold the promise of shaping the way forward for the sub-region’s political landscape.