- Six African countries—Zambia, Senegal, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Egypt, and South Africa—have proposed to broker a peace deal between the warring Russia and Ukraine.
- The African peace mission to Ukraine and Russia is unlikely to bear fruit without the support of major world powers.
- Western governments have questioned the neutrality of African states and are concerned with their credibility as mediators in the conflict.
African nations have launched an initiative to broker a peace deal between the warring Russia and Ukraine and help end the conflict. The South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, recently stated that a group of African heads of state would travel to Moscow and Kyiv to submit a proposal for Africa-led peace negotiations.
The mediation effort will involve Zambia, Senegal, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Egypt, and South Africa. Last week, Mr. Ramaphosa claimed that President Zelensky and Putin both expressed support for the proposal. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that "we have already stated that we are ready to listen with great attention to any proposals that will contribute to resolving the situation in Ukraine."
However, President Zelensky has made it clear that he will reject any requests for peace talks that do not require that the Russian troops withdraw from the entirety of Ukraine's territory first. Mr. Putin has not demonstrated any desire to make compromises.
Will the Proposed Mission Deliver?
According to political analysts, the African peace mission led by South Africa to Ukraine and Russia is unlikely to bear fruit without the support of major world powers. Following President Ramaphosa’s statements, the United States and Britain have declared cautious support for an African peace proposal.
According to Prince Mashele, executive director of the Johannesburg Center for Politics and Research, the African-Ukraine Peace Mission won't accomplish any practical objectives. He stated that "there are significant international parties with stakes in that conflict. There is absolutely no effect that a very minor and insignificant player like African states can bring to bear on events on the war front if those international players don't agree to either negotiate or terminate the conflict."
Mashele predicted that global powers including the United States, the European Union, China, and the United Kingdom, who he claimed "have vested interests" in maintaining the status quo between Moscow and Kyiv, would be skeptical of the announcement of an African mission to assist in facilitating peace negotiations.
Another analyst, Aleix Montana at Verisk Maplecroft, a London-based risk intelligence firm, stated that the Africa peace mission proposal "is little more than a publicity stunt by South Africa without a clear timeframe or agenda for discussions." President Ramaphosa's announcement of a peace mission comes at a time when South Africa's neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine war is being called into question.
He added that "it is improbable that the plan will result in a peaceful end to the war. The six African countries don't have enough influence to force major concessions from both parties.
The neutrality of African states is questioned.
Of the six African countries to broker the peace deal, four of them—Uganda, Senegal, the Republic of the Congo, and South Africa—abstained from last year’s United Nations vote to condemn Russia for its aggression on Ukraine. However, Zambia and Egypt chose to support the resolution.
Many western governments have questioned the neutrality of African states. Last week, Reuben Brigety, the American ambassador to South Africa, accused Pretoria of providing guns and ammunition to Moscow. However, the South African government has denied supplying arms to Russia. Some political observers have argued that the claims have drastically reduced South Africa’s credibility as a mediator in the conflict."
In conclusion, many political observers plead with the African leaders to focus on Sudan instead and make sure that we have peace at home. In reality, by traveling to Kyiv and Moscow while leaving their own garden on fire, they are making themselves look foolish.