Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) Council of Kenya has joined peace stakeholders at the African continental level in welcoming the momentous step taken in Pretoria, South Africa to advance the African Union’s (AU) campaign to “silence the guns” following the signing of a cessation of hostilities between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
The Council noted with great appreciation that this is a good step in the right direction that Africans need to advance sustainable peace in the continent and commended the parties for taking this initial step to agree to end the hostilities and continue dialogue to resolve outstanding issues to consolidate peace and bring an end to the conflict.
“We further welcome the delivery of humanitarian assistance and the protection of local civilians through the agreement and strongly commend the Government for the support they have accorded the peace talks through the former president Uhuru Kenyatta,” said Stephen Cheboi the Council Chairperson.
After two years of brutal civil war, the Ethiopian government and the leadership of the northern Tigray region agreed to stop fighting on Wednesday as part of a deal that offered a path out of a conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions in Africa’s second-most-populous country.
Following 10 days of peace talks convened by the African Union, the surprise deal came one day before the second anniversary of the start of the war, on Nov 3, 2020 where senior officials from both sides shook hands and smiled after signing the peace agreement.
The Council further commended the AU Commission Chairman Moussa Faki for his exemplary leadership as well as the extraordinary efforts of AU High Representative Olusegun Obasanjo, former South African Deputy President Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Kenya’s former president Uhuru Kenyatta, whose facilitation led to this significant step towards a truce in the calamitous civil war.
Cheboi said that the Council and its membership working in the region and the entire continent will remain a committed partner to peace processes and urged the AU and other stakeholders such as the UN agencies, IGAD, and other regional and international partners to support the implementation of peace and sustainable peace measures in every part of the African continent.
“This move will enhance partnership to support peace, humanitarian efforts and sustainable development for sustainable peace efforts among our local communities,” Cheboi reiterated.
The Council among other key partners will early next year 2023 host an African NGOs summit in Nairobi, Kenya to, among other thematic issues, deliberate the role of NGOs towards sustainable Peace, Good Governance, Climate Change and Sustainable Development.
By Michael Omondi