ABSTRACT

The transformation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU) generated the expectation that Africa’s premier international institution would have the strength and capacity to deal with the peace and security challenges facing the continent.2 While the OAU had achieved its stated objectives of decolonization, eradicating apartheid, and maintaining the colonially inherited boundaries at independence, the proxy wars into which Africa got entangled during the period of the Cold War resulted in the diversion of attention from the core challenges that the continent faced. By 1993, there was the political recognition that the rhetoric of economic development could not be achieved if the conflicts that hounded the continent were not decisively dealt with. 1993, therefore, became the decisive year when the shift towards a structured security architecture started to take shape. A decade later, with the Constitutive Act defining the parameters of the new AU, a protocol establishing a Peace and Security Council (PSC) for the AU was promulgated in 2002 and eventually ratified by enough member states to make it operational. At its launch in May 2004, the PSC was characterized as “marking a historic watershed in Africa’s progress towards resolving its conflicts and building a durable peace and security order” (African Union 2005h, para. 1).