AU fiasco highlights divisions in global body

2012-02-04 11:03

The failure by the African ­Union (AU) to elect a new chairperson for its commission on January 30 points to a seriously divided continental body.

It further indicates that our former colonisers are still ruling or controlling Mother Africa from the grave. There is no doubt that “African solutions for African problems” remains a pipe dream.

Furthermore, it indicates an unfortunate leadership void at the highest level due to the AU’s failure to arrive at consensus on basic issues such as who should chair the commission, a body that for all intents and purposes is meant to be run by general consensus of member states.

It really boggles the mind to learn that for the next five months, the two protagonists (Jean Ping and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma) will be mobilising fiercely, which will result in more divisions between the two camps.

Given that 31 African states are Francophone, a South African candidate will never win if the South African government chooses to set up the contest as a battle between Francophone and non-Francophone states.

That means for the next five months Africa will not speak with one voice when it comes to addressing continental and global challenges such as the crisis of global capitalism, political stability, human rights, the Millennium Development Goals and climate change.

The challenge facing the continent is that political will or tides of ill-will and strong leadership, are scarce resources and might lead to recolonisation by the West. A case in point is that of regime change in Libya. The embarrassing ouster and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi with the direct aid of Nato and the consent of many AU members, such as South Africa and Nigeria, shows that the continent is in disarray.

It is also an approach that has the backing of Russia and China, which are involved in their own “new scramble for Africa”.

Furthermore, the AU was reduced to a spectator while Nato was invading Libya, and when France and Belgium were assisting Alassane Ouattara to oust his rival, Laurent Gbagbo.

It appears there are now two versions of the AU, even though it doesn’t mean they didn’t exist before. It took the election of an AU commission chairperson for the divisions to become obvious.

In the process, Africa has allowed itself to continue to be a hapless battleground for the global powers, with either side of the AU playing to one superpower gallery or the other. That’s the main course of disunity on the continent. Back-stabbing and backbiting among African leaders aggravate matters.

Our only hope now is the Malawi meeting. Maybe our leaders will reassess the damage they are doing to our continent and get their act together by the time they meet in June this year.

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