Repository logo

Assessing the role and capability of the peace and security council of the African Union in bringing about peace in Africa : a case study of Burundi and Sudan.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis examines the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) in light of the continental challenges of peace and security. It explores the prospects for the success of the PSC in its endeavours. The study’s central argument is that the PSC’s ability to successfully tackle peace and security challenges depends greatly on the cooperation of the fifteen members of the PSC as well as between the fifty-three African Union members and the international community at large, including the United Nations. This hypothesis is backed by the argument that although the PSC may be a practical translation of the theoretical statement that ‘African problems need African solutions’, the reality is that the PSC cannot achieve such an ambitious objective alone. The PSC’s enthusiasm should be bolstered by the requisite assistance from the international arena. The international community, especially the major players or countries in the international political spectrum, are challenged to work together with the PSC in its quest for African peace and security. The members of the international community are called upon to discontinue their parallel peace and security initiatives in Africa in favour of supporting and strengthening the PSC’s ongoing initiatives. Another critical point raised in the study is that the UN’s brief to cultivate world peace and security obliges it to buttress the PSC’s initiatives, the home-grown regional solutions to Africa’s inherent peace and security challenges. This support should include the UN’s engagement at all levels with the newly created African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). Indeed, the moral challenge for the international community is to support Africa’s already demonstrated political will with the necessary assistance. This study advocates political and economic cooperation, resource mobilisation and provision of the relevant expertise. The validity of the study’s hypothesis has been tested and confirmed by means of a deeper inquiry into the PSC’s normal business conduct, and a comparative analysis of the case studies relating to the PSC’s interventions in Burundi and in Sudan’s Darfur region. This study of those interventions has illuminated the PSC’s opportunities and challenges: on the one hand, it has revealed that the PSC’s authority and legitimacy are not challenged, at least in Africa. On the other hand, however, it has lent support to the thesis that the PSC cannot go it alone - a conclusion that has encouraged the entire AU to find ways of challenging the UN to own up to its obligations. The PSC has made noteworthy strides in assisting to streamline and coordinate the support and engagement it receives from the international community. The major limitation of the study is that it was conducted before other PSC support structures (the African Standby Force and the Continental Early Warning System) were fully operational. The study thus could not assess the full potential of the PSC. Nonetheless, the study has sought to identify potential or latent challenges which could hamper the PSC’s success, whether its support structures are fully operational or not. In the end, the study recommends greater coordination and cooperation between the PSC and major international actors including the UN.


Thesis (Ph.D.)-University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 2010.


National security--Burundi., African Union., National security--Sudan., Theses--Political science.