Kwame Nkrumah and the other founding members of the Organisation of Africa Unity must be turning in their graves or pacing at Africa Union Headquarters. And no, it isn’t because they made Obiang Nguema the Chair, but that the current members have no sense of propriety.
They shamelessly threw a party in Addis Ababa what the Chair of the AU calls a ‘gift’ from China. The whole idea of a Union was to protect the interest of the continent, encourage trade within ourselves and become self-sufficient. The men who formed the OAU were friendly with China, but even they will smell China’s tricks from their grave. China does not have anyone’s interest at heart except theirs, and they don’t give gifts.
And anyone who met these men knew how much they hated anyone who was out to grab Africa’s natural resources(and China is grabbing it all.) I’m sure they wouldn’t be taking gifts left-right-centre from the Chinese, much less allow them to bring 1,200 men to Addis Ababa to build them office blocks.
As unsettling as the founding members of the AU will find China’s gift of a modern office, it isn’t what will make them bleed, it is the timing of the party. As I write, the eighty-five-year-old man has had Senegal’s constitution changed, so he can run again for the presidency. Now age isn’t an issue, but this old man has already served two terms. It is a crime for any President to do what Wade has done in Senegal. What a responsible Union will ask him to go quietly. But the AU would have to develop a muscle and descend on all the petty tyrants on the continents which might include (gasp!) more than half the members of the group.
The AU has not only been disappointing with its silence on the tyrants but how they conduct the affairs of the continent. Not long ago, we saw them troop to Libya to convince the rebels and Gaddafi to settle their differences. They spent a great deal of time bashing the transition fighters and NATO, but not a word for the man who was calling his citizens cockroaches and killing them.
They are the boys club where no one gets reprimanded for going against the code of conducts. It wouldn’t have taken Mohamed Bouazizi death to topple some dictators if they were effective. The fact Somali exists on this continent is proof of their ineffectiveness.
I do not think this is the sort of Union Kwame Nkrumah and his friends envisaged when they dreamed it up. They would be asking Goodluck Jonathan to get a grip on the security of his nation as fundamentalists on any of part of the continent to affect every country. They definitely will be dealing with the Chinese on their terms and not handing everything to them on a platter. Alas, we have men who care more about their pockets than the countries they run.