The African Union Must Be Principled

Published on 24th January 2019

At a recent news conference about the election in DR Congo, the African Union (AU) said it had “taken note” of the Constitutional Court’s decision but did not explicitly say it recognised Tshisekedi as the winner.

The AU has monitored elections on the continent since 1989. AU monitors are deployed three months before an election and are tasked with meeting with political stakeholders, collecting data on the electoral process and highlighting areas that undermine the election’s credibility.

It is however disturbing that the AU has exhibited inaction during critical elections or gravitated towards the opinion of global powers. In Kenya, it did not challenge the electoral process in spite of political stakeholders raising a number of concerns. In Cameroon, despite government forces attacking and arresting Anglophone protesters for months before the election and opposition candidates raising concerns about voter intimidation, violence and ballot-stuffing during the polling process, the AU was non-committal.  

If the AU has to be credible in Africa, it must up its game. The AU needs pragmatic political goodwill from African states. The continental body must strive towards self-sufficiency to avoid being captive to foreign funders who then call the shots. 

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