African Union’s (AU) latest position on Libya called for a political dialogue with Col. Muammar Gaddafi and to slow down the rebel course opposing the Libyan strong man. That sort of conclusion offers nothing new in terms of putting an end to the crisis.
For instance, as the AU summit concludes, Libya is burning and will most likely continue doing so in the days to come.
The resolutions reached in Addis Ababa prompts several questions. Why are our current crop of leaders not drawing from the past mistakes of our former leaders?
Why can’t the AU came up with a radical new plan to intervene in the Libyan crisis just to show that it has something new in terms of leadership to
Where is the responsibility of the AU to protect the lives of innocent Africans? When will African leaders truly show solidarity by undertaking timely interventions to stop rogue leaders from taking their countries hostage by clinging on to power for the sake?
In the Ivory Coast crisis, it is the French who had to flex their muscles in order to smoke out strongman Laurent Gbagbo.
The West African economic community (Ecowas) with all its attendant and highly capable military prowess, could not be tasked to bear on the situation on the ground, to save innocent lives as the conflict dragged on, save for empty verbal threats it issued from time to time from neighbouring capitals.
Infact, the empty verbal threats by Ecowas only served to embolden Gbagbo until the French stepped in to save the situation.
Such scenes have played out elsewhere in Africa for far too long. In Rwanda, it happened in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.
African leaders watched idly as the situation deteriorated and the genocidal forces got encouraged to push through their plans to conclusion.
The end result was that, by the time the situation was brought under control, it was already too late and over one million innocent lives were lost in a matter of just 100 days.
It is clear that Gaddafi must be forced out just the same way Allasane Qattara ejected Gbagbo. By early this week, it was Washington and other European capitals that were strongly urging Gaddafi to leave Libya.
A vast majority of influential African capitals were eerily silent to lend their voices to the issue.
It is only Kigali that has differed with the rest. Rwanda’s position at the AU sounded as the only radical departure to the fence sitting by other African countries.
Not only did Rwanda articulate accurately the root causes of the North African crisis, but it touched on an aspect that has been neglected for long by our leaders.
This is the issue of dealing, head on, with any crisis when it happens.
Africa, Rwanda emphasised, needs timely and effective intervention to its own problems. Rwanda’s stance was that Africa, has been criticised of being too slow to respond to its own challenges, a factor that has eroded the credibility of African leadership, thus leaving a wide room for non-Africans to intervene in our own problems.
The costs of such procrastinations, according to Rwanda, are indeed very high for Africa. There is need to develop new mechanisms that go beyond mere routine programmes by AU. Extra-ordinary circumstances require extra-ordinary measures, the premier reasoned.
And the West was matching its words with deeds by directing more military fire power and diplomatic pressure to force Gaddafi to go.
Sanctions are being applied while Bengazi is now being propped up as a the new capital of Libya with USA and EU opening up offices in the rebel headquarters to show solidarity with the rebel course, further paving the way for a new dispensation to unfold.
This is the kind of action that we want African leaders to show as EU and USA continue to tighten the noose around Gaddafi’s neck.
It is the highest form of hypocrisy for African leaders to stand by idly watching as Libyans continue to suffer even as outsiders rush to arrest another African crisis from getting out of hand.
The author is an editor with The New Times