EDITORIAL: African Union should not only be in name

Early this week, an event took place at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa where the Au Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomed the first group of medical experts who had been sent to the Ebola stricken countries in West Africa.

Early this week, an event took place at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa where the Au Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomed the first group of medical experts who had been sent to the Ebola stricken countries in West Africa.

The significance of the AU response to the Ebola crisis at last unlocked a lacklustre reaction to continental problems, leaving most interventions to come from Europe or North America; from the war on terror to humanitarian catastrophes.

By now Africa should have come of age, taking its destiny into its own hands, but the ghosts of dependency seem not to have gone away. But the small but significant ceremony in Addis could be the change maker.

The AU should build on the Ebola response momentum and maintain the spirit of unity enshrined in its name. Solidarity should be its guiding light before looking beyond its borders for succour.

While the response to the Ebola outbreak by the AU left a lot to be desired, all hope is not lost. African problems need African solutions. That is when true ownership of our destiny will be realised, otherwise wearing the tag of the “poor cousin” will forever haunt and pull us down.

Rapid response is what African leaders should push forward; be it in health or security matters, otherwise the continent will continue playing second fiddle to others.

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