The relevance of the African Union (AU) keeps popping up each and every time the continent is caught up in a situation that needs steadfast and selfless leadership.
African history is strewn with cases where the AU, including its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) failed to show leadership in situations, that otherwise badly needed its intervention.
It now seems clear, that no matter how hard Africa tries, ever since the advent of Independence in the 1960s to reorganize, re-orient, reposition and give new meaning to its supreme continental organ, the bitter truth emerging , is that nothing good seems to come out of it, especially when we talk about the issue of tackling African leadership challenges.
Africa’s image as a dark continent wrecked by appalling cases of civil wars, coups and counter coups, inter-state wars and even genocide, is mainly attributed to its governance structures that are mostly found to be wanting.
Questionable governance systems in Africa such as Gaddafi’s prolonged stay in office is what actually breeds poverty, famine, malnutrition, ignorance, as well as several other challenges bedeviling a continent that is otherwise blessed with huge resource base.
The issue here is that Africa has not seen the last of the Libyan style political crisis just by looking at the number of long serving presidents who are key players in the AU.
One can say, therefore, that the burden of questionable decision making by our leaders at the AU is the curse Africa will carry for quite some time, going by what has happened since this year begun.
From the onset of the Libyan crisis, early this year, the AU displayed one of the highest levels of ineptitude in African diplomacy.
This was demonstrated by the embarrassing confusion and the squabbling that was reported when it came to the critical issue of adoption of a common position on Libya.
Analysts are quick to say that part of the paralysis and confusion emanated from the fact that Col Muammar Gaddafi was a key financier of not only the AU,
but his generous grants and investments across the continent, meant that he was revered by a number of African presidents who constitute the bulk of decision
makers at the continental body.
Gaddafi’s largesse, when we talk about his legacy, has proved to be the key factor that has split the AU, as demonstrated by its failure to intervene in a
timely manner in the Libyan crisis.
Failure to undertake a timely intervention was soon followed by speaking in discordant voices over whether to recognise the new administration.
With the rebels in charge of Tripoli, and Gaddafi on the run, common sense demands that African leaders must wake up to the fact, that no amount of rhetoric
will restore Gaddafi’s crumbling regime.
If anything, it is worth pointing out that lack of steadfastness among our African leaders is the main reason why NATO, backed by the UN security council
stepped forward to block the imminent killings of innocent Libyans.
The simple truth is that whether the AU likes it or not Libya is now liberated and in the true fashion of hunter turning into the hunted, Gaddafi can now be termed as a rebel in his own country. His days are actually numbered.
Protecting and rallying behind such leaders, who have only taken African towards the path of self destruction, is a stark reminder of how irrelevant the AU
The author is an editor with The New Times