The struggle for our full independence and sovereignty will continue, nothing comes easy as Frederick Douglas, a black civil rights leader alluded to over one hundred years ago and I quote" Power is not a given thing, It must be demanded, It never was and never will"
The inception of the African Union in 1999 came with a great deal of euphoria, false expectation, optimism and new hopeful forward for a continent, saddled with tremendous ills, ranging from illiteracy, economic stagnation, lack of democracy, human rights abuses, bad governance and for life despotic regimes. 1999 marked the end of a discredited and failed organization the "OAU", an organization, the chairman of a Ugandan civil society organization called and I quote " A trade Union of Despots", a noted Nigerian Nobel prize laureate also echoed the same feeling. Non of the ideals of the formation of the "OAU" have been fulfilled, such as promotion of democratic principles, strengthening of civil society institutions, popular participation, good governance and respect of human rights in accordance with their on paper African charter.
AU conferences, are a place where tyrants spent too much time on their internal quarrels and rivalries, and spent very little time on the pressing issues of the day, such as Darfur, Somalia, Ivory Coast and other trouble spots. Their bitter rivalries and priorities eclipse the discussion of the vital issues such as peace, starvation, chronic conflicts, disease, democratization, freedom of the press, oppression, economic development, education, and other important issues. Does the AU different from the discredited and failed OAU? The answer is no, according to some concrete evidence collected over the years, nothing of substance changed. According to many continent observers, the only change happened so far is the name change. When you evaluate AU actions since the time of its foundation in 1999, it is crystal clear that, the "AU" is a carbon copy of its doomed predecessor the "OAU". The only thing changed so far is a few on paper slogans, protocols and statements here and there but nothing else.
Addis Abba conference
Started with the signature fanfare, stringent Protocols, security details, huge number of dignitaries, scores of dictators with large number of entourages motorcades and honor guards, the closure of important roads and through fares in Addis Abba causing so much inconvenience for the indigenous citizens. All those hardships are usually inflicted on the indigenous citizens, without even uttering any form of apology and reasoning. That is one of the reasons that fuels the tremendous resentment, and hatred towards most of the despotic regimes that exist around the Continent. These regimes are customarily isolated and insulated from their public. When the day of reckoning arrives, the hated leaders of these Machiavellian regimes has no where to hide and often thrown to the wolves.
Too many beautiful slogans, chants, good speeches, blaming others on the continents ailments and morass. But at the end of the day, same old same old, nothing is done. In the final analysis, the inevitable and predictable results come out which are no action on non of the pressing issues on the agenda.
I wonder if they can't finance and maintain several hundred peace-keeping troops, if they can't be able to struck reconciliation between the multiple warring factions and nations around the continent, if they can't independently effect any change in the continent, I think their atrophy and disbanding will be inevitable. If a school falls short fall of fulfilling its mission of educating kids, if it can't measure up to that expectation, the school is a failure and must be designated for closure. When a huge business conglomerate fails, they file for bankruptcy protection and case closed, they shut down. One of the bizarre statements coming from them-the AU, while they were in Addis Abba was their intention to transfer the Somali mission to the United nations after 6 months. Do you understand what that means? That means they can't be able to do a project of such magnitude which involves a great deal of logistics and planning. Therefore, they plan to transfer the responsibility of the mission to somebody else-The United Nations a larger but another corrupt, inefficient and lackluster bureaucracy. This is a vivid depiction of the "AU's" inability to do any kind of heavy lifting or anything of substance. All they are so good at is releasing so many contradictory, meaningless and often confusing press releases and statements.
Therefore, the legitimate question many would like to ask is, what is the purpose for their existence? So far the purpose of their existence, is nothing more than being another sleek device to hoodwink the world, and acquire few donor dollars here and there and wield some power in the name of doing something for the downtrodden and oppressed people of the continent. The AU is another bigger layer of bureaucracy where hated dictators will wield power without doing much. A genuine debate regarding the validity of the existence of this meaningless organization-the AU must start in the African Diaspora. No wonder why? Africa, blessed with so much natural resources is far behind the rest of the world in every department be it human development, economics, education/scientific know how, technology, health care, per capita income, job creation, democracy, human rights and what have you. In an increasingly globalizing world of instant communication, Africa still lags behind the rest of the world. This rich continent still stands out as a remote outpost of illiteracy, bad governance and backwardness. It is usually attributed by the international media as a troubled place which is associated with endless conflicts, disease, racism and multiplicity of entrenched dictatorships.
The African Union (AU) and its predecessor the ( OAU) were not known for doing something tangible regarding conflict resolution, peace-making, conflict prevention and so forth. Since they came into existence, these two organizations are not associated with even a single success story. These organizations helped and supported dysfunction, despotism, injustices, human and right abuses. It is on record the fact that the "OAU" remained silent in the prevention or the peaceful resolution of the Rwanda crisis in 1993, when the just Rwandan Patriotic Front ( RPF) led by the then Paul Kigame launched a swift offensive against the Hutu dominated repressive government, and gained a lot of ground in a very short period of time. Had they not mishandled that crisis, the horrific Rwandan genocide that happened one year later had been averted. They failed to avert the thirty years Eritrean conflict by ignoring the just Eritrean cause.
The Eritrean people finally gained their independence under their nose. From their inception in 1963, till 1990 when the EPLF and the Eritrean people gained their independence through the barrel of the gun, they keep on putting the just struggle of the Eritrean people under the rug. They kept silent from the excesses of vicious fascist dictators of the likes of Mengistu, Idi Amin, Siyad Barre, Robert Mugabe and others. The new version of the OAU, the AU is clearly following the footpaths of the doomed OAU. For example, they failed to do anything about Darfur, Somalia, Guinea and Ivory Coast. The AU time and again keep on ignoring Somaliland's unique cause and their right for independence. Both the new den of dictators the AU and its brethren-the disgraced OAU are not known for logic, democratic ideals and justice. Therefore, it is time for Somaliland to by pass the AU and wage an all out offensive in Europe and North America.
AU's blatant indifference, evasion and lack of action regarding Somaliland's just cause for full independence and sovereignty is just unbelievable?
Here again, another conference ended without a concrete resolution of the two most pressing conflicts, Darfur and Somalia, among a plethora of other conflicts around the continent. Again they failed to understand the Somali conflict. They are attempting or at least superficially leaning towards supporting the imposed weak, warlord-ridden Embagatti outfit, that lacks any kind of support on the ground in Somalia. The AU is ignorance, ineptness and lack of clear understanding of the Somali conflict is quite staggering. Their obsession and the falsity of expecting that aged Ethiopian tanks, Bush's air strikes and unsustainable military solution will resolve the chronic Somali quagmire is mind-boggling bordering on fiction. I was also shocked by AU's bias towards Ethiopia and against the Somaliland and Somali causes. Again the African despots walked along their traditional anti-Somaliland and Somalia line. The blatant unjustified biases that partially led to the wars of 1964 and 1988 between Ethiopian and Somalia is well and alive again.
The AU and others failed to understand the long lingering conflict in Somalia. comprehensive, grassroots negotiations and just political solution only can resolve the intractable conflict in Somalia. Hated intervention forces who wrecked havoc on the country and its people, to prop up a collection of inept and clannish warlords on board tanks will not work.
It is rather disgusting to hear the AU praising the Ethiopian invasion and occupation of Somalia. That was a horrible, irresponsible, myopic, prejudicial and dishonest stand which again biased towards the fragile Ethiopian empire.
The Ethiopian intervention in Somalia triggered the latent and monumental animosity towards the Ethiopian empire. The people of Somali decent would be very upset about this hypocrisy. They failed to understand any type of Ethiopian military intervention in Somalia irrespective of its intention will be extremely sensitive. They failed to understand the crisis is Somalia can't be resolved by military means. All types of military means to resolve that conflict have failed before, and the current Ethiopian invasion will be no different. This Ethiopian interjection into the crisis will only exasperate the conflict and will potentially give it a multi-dimensional insignia. Unfortunately that unholy intervention gave the crisis a Muslim-Christian angle. Apparently this despot-rich and meaningless gathering miserably failed to learn from its past costly mistakes.
That lowly Ethiopian army as you know have been exposed lately to constant attacks by Resistance forces. That force that have an easy time to go into Somalia, are already engaged in an unwindable quagmire. Bizarre and contradictory statements keep coming from the "AU" for the last month. Despite a huge pressure put on African states to provide troops to Somalia. So far only three countries Uganda, Nigeria and Malawi have pledged less than 4000 soldiers. Even those countries themselves are showing some reluctance to blindly jump into the explosive situation in Somalia, where the underlying conflict is not genuinely resolved but just complicated by Ethiopia.
The AU has no money to finance a peace-keeping forces in the continent. They lack vision and a robust conflict-prevention, conflict resolution organ, and standing peace-making and peace-keeping forces. Apparently this phantom organization lacks the capacity to effect change, promote good governance, pint-point problem places, have no conflict resolution skills and the magnanimity for a model leadership. If you infer from the afore-mentioned postulates, you will end up with a paper entity, with very little capacity, gravities and and all the attributes expected of an organization of its arbitrary size.
Analysis and suggestions
Nothing is said about the reality called Somaliland. So far they failed to come to grips with the inevitable concrete fact called Somaliland, but they must. So far, the dictator club ignored this home-grown peoples' democracy created, maintained and sustained by the people of Somaliland. so far these meager-resource-debilitating, democracy-hating, citizen terrorizing, vision-less and leadership-challenged despots ignored one of the few functioning countries in Africa-Somaliland.
Whether they like it or not, this emerging new phenomena called Somaliland has not yet, acknowledged by the discredited so-called international organizations starting with their meaningless "AU", and UN will stay here and prosper. But I would like to put into prospective the fact that Somaliland has good relationship, and some form of representation in a number of countries, such as Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Yemen, Djibouti, South Africa, Nigeria, the US and UK.
The AU is a forum of dysfunction, failure and no action. Currently the capacity of its functionality do not exceed that of a debating society. The wiser use of some of the meager resources, which is spent on their expensive room, board and other bad habits, should have been used for vital projects and programs. These regional gatherings may be built in order milk few dollars from the international community. I still would like to see one successful project they pulled out since their foundation in 1963. Clearly these organizations have miserably failed to realize any of the above-mentioned goals. This organization is a great disappointment and a failure.
The African Union and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity came short of the objectives of their foundation. Which were:
1. Enhance good governance in the continent.
2 Work towards economic and political cooperation and integration between the member states.
3. Conflict resolution and prevention.
4. Peace-keeping and peace-making.
5. Combat poverty, illiteracy and disease.
6. Promotion of democratic ideals, human rights, minority rights and the rule of law
Soleiman Egeh is a freelance writer and can be reached @
E-mail: [email protected]