n Journal of African Union Studies - The hatchling institutions of the African Union's Peace and Security Architecture : the Panel of the Wise

Volume 2, Issue 3_4
  • ISSN : 2050-4292
  • E-ISSN: 2050-4306


Conflict is considered to be ubiquitous and has always been endemic in human societies. It is because of this reason that contemporary Africa continues to grapple with the inevitability of conflict. However, in its negative and destructive form, conflict is generally considered as an aberration which should be contained and eliminated if it cannot be avoided. In both traditional and contemporary Africa, the mechanisms that are employed in order to resolve conflicts are usually considered to be indicative of the level of political organization in a particular society. This reason is quite befitting to the optimism which was created by the transmutation from the OAU to the AU. The AU's proposals for innovative changes were anticipated to take the continental organization beyond the limited achievements of its predecessor, the OAU and anxiety about this remains evident across Africa. In the AU's rather complex institutional framework was the Panel of the Wise, a renaissance of the concept of the wise, an indigenous traditional African practice. The Panel is an institution whose enactment is enshrined in the AU Constitutive Act of 2002, and is among the gamut of establishments that are part of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). From the time of its inception, the Panel of the Wise has undertaken a number of peace initiatives across the political hotspots of the African continent. However, the frequency of occurrence and intensity of conflicts has become a serious cause of concern. It challenges the efficacy of the new structures put in place by the AU to manage and prevent conflict on the continent. It is against this purview that the impact of the Panel of the Wise's endeavors in trying to effectively mediate and prevent conflict remains a pipedream at this juncture.

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