Where is the African Union in this defining moment of change in Africa?

Since time immemorial, it has been known that the degree of success or failure in any undertaking be it in business, politics or even within a family unit largely depends on leadership. That being the case, when concerns are raised to the effect that an organization, people or society  lacks leadership or if something happens to that particular leadership, such an organization in question would then face  a leadership crisis of unprecedented proportion.

Since time immemorial, it has been known that the degree of success or failure in any undertaking be it in business, politics or even within a family unit largely depends on leadership.

That being the case, when concerns are raised to the effect that an organization, people or
society  lacks leadership or if something happens to that particular leadership, such an
organization in question would then face  a leadership crisis of unprecedented proportion.

We are now in agreement that political events in the last few weeks have placed Africa at its
defining moment. Several countries in Northern Africa have had dramatic changes in their
governments while several more in other part of the continent will conduct elections this year.
Further still talk of an African renaissance with lofty promises, has been on the lips of our leaders for quite some time.

For African countries gripped in the middle of political transition, it is more about the usual
headache that comes with passing the button to the next leader that will continue making news.
While Egypt for instance has successfully forced the exit of Hosni Mubarak, there is still a
huge vacuum left by the departing strong man that Africa seems to have ignored. All this is
happening while we seemed to have forgotten that Egyptians were held hostage by the intricacies
and volatility of the Middle East and other forms of foreign influences.

Foreign meddling in Egyptian  affairs has  largely denied its citizens  the democratic space
they needed for the last 30 or so years in order to chart out their own destiny. In the
dramatic change of guard in Egypt, it was foreign influence that was playing behind the scene more loudly, rather than our own African Union (AU).

The AU has resolved to send a mission to investigate the situation in Libya following reports
of mass killings arising out of the protests for change. It will be very good news in Africa if
the AU Peace and Security Council mission to Libya comes up with a concrete response from
Tripoli on the issue of enforcing  restraint on the part of Libyan authorities. Getting Libya
to exercise restraint at this difficult time in its history is what Africans want to hear.

The other issue that the AU needs to resolve is the continuing crisis in Ivory Coast. Again
here it is the international community and to be more precise it is the French calling the
shots more than African institutions. More than ever, the events in the last few months in
Africa, seem to suggest the  need by its leadership to collectively re-examine its expression
for the future for the continent’s  well being. The young segments of the population in
Northern Africa have collectively expressed their feelings at the political situation obtaining
within the countries where we see transition taking place.

The message that seems to be coming out of this kind of transition in Northern Africa is that
the Pan-African project that was conceived when Africa  was emerging from the shackles of
colonialism needs a closer re-examination at this point in time. The much talked about
transformation of the continent that is endowed with such a  rich resource base will continue
being just a pipe dream, if we cannot have smooth transition mechanisms capable of  preventing
political and military crises.


The author is an editor with The New Times
Ojiwah@gmail.com

 

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