African Union: Has it Lost Relevance?

Published on 11th August 2009

Africa must unite. Those are introductory words on AU's website. They're cool to read but sour to implement. They are verbally practicable but viably impracticable as far as AU is concerned.


May 25, 1963 was seen as Africa's new era. For it's the time the Organization of African Unity (OAU)-the mother of AU, was born. This milestone was thought to be the sine quo non for the total emancipation of Africa. However, it slowly ended up becoming a white elephant.


The sixties saw many post colonial Africans aspiring for a more autonomous united Africa. As the time lapsed, the dream of unifying Africa became a hoax thanks to the machination and manipulation of African countries spearheaded by the West and East. Slowly, dictators cropped up not to mention military juntas. Togo was the first African nation to be overthrown. Sadly though, OAU did not step in to foil the coup d’Etat that later gave birth to many more military juntas.


After many decades of stillness, on 9.9.1999, in Sirte Libya, African heads of state issued a Declaration (the Sirte Declaration) calling for the establishment of an African Union, with a view, inter alia, to accelerating the process of integration in the continent to enable it play its rightful role in the global economy while addressing multifaceted social, economic and political problems compounded as they are by certain negative aspects of globalisation.


The Sirte declaration, that created AU, was the realization of the failure of OAU. The main objectives of the OAU were, among others, to rid Africa of the remaining vestiges of colonization and apartheid; to promote unity and solidarity among African States; to coordinate and intensify cooperation for development; to safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Member States and to promote international cooperation within the framework of the United Nations.


In its all objectives one was already met. That's to get rid of apartheid in South Africa. Nobody knows why African rulers included this objective whilst it was already deja vu. When AU was dreaming of ridding Africa of apartheid in Sirte, the first post-apartheid president Nelson Mandela had five months in retirement! Did African rulers insert this objective knowing it would be the only success they'd boast of whilst others were mere impossible?


Looking at the map of Africa today, after OAU, one sees a nightmare. Ethiopia that used to be one split into Ethiopia and Eritrea. Somalia, too, went under thanks to having Punt land and the failed state of Somalia. The loose confederation of Senegambia survived for only seven years. Tiny Islands of Comoro or Juzur al-Qumur are still in tussle between Anjoun and Mohéli that declared their independence from the Comoros in 1997.


Generally speaking, the AU is a club of dictators that meet annually to do shoptalk and spend the tax of their paupers. It's totally failed in solving impending crises in Africa. Refer to its failure in Rwanda during genocide, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Zimbabwe and DRC. The dreams of its founder no longer exist.


Many wonder. How can one unify Africa amidst stinking dependence and dictatorship? If AU has ever brought any reprieve for Africa, it’s been for rulers only that can congregate annually to do shop talking and chest beating. The recent shame-cum-blow to AU was its alliance with those that committed genocide in Sudan and African supremacists in Zimbabwe not to mention bloodsucking regimes like those in Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia and Gabon.


AU, since its inception, has nary barked on rampant corruption in African regimes. When it comes to democratization, AU has totally failed. Museveni in Uganda, Abdoulaye Wade (Senegal), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) and Paul Kagame (Rwanda) were comfortably able to tamper with their countries' constitutions so as to illegally remain in power. Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia), Denis Sassou Ngwesso (Congo), Teodoro Obiang Ngwema (Equatorial Guinea), Yahaya Jammeh (Gambia), Idris Derby (Chad), Francois Bozize (CAR), Muamar Gadaffi (Libya), Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (Tunisia) and Omar Bashir (Sudan) have always terrorised their citizens as AU sits idly by!


Regarding the economy, AU has proved to be a liability incurring even more pangs to the African paupers. The East African Community that aims at creating a regional economic power house is still struggling, thanks to every country guarding its interests. How can they be united whilst they lack rule of law and democratically elected governments?


In Rwanda and Uganda, dictators have been tampering with the constitutions to remain in power whilst in Kenya and Tanzania, the potentates have always rigged elections. Can such carbuncular rulers unify their countries really? If they do, it will be  for their interests- not those of the people.


Africa under AU is the only continent with large-but-doing-nothing governments. They've become another hole in which Africa's wealth  sinks.These superimposed-corrupt regimes are but the veins through which African resources are siphoned thanks to playing a middlemen role in ruining the continent.


Despite all the mentioned failures, AU, a cup-in hand begging outfit  still chest beats that it can unite Africa! Can it usher in any union? 

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