By Andrew Nganga*
The Africa Union and her predecessor the Organization of African Union (OAU) have in the eyes of many Africans had a checkered and controversial rein and the putsch by ‘modern day’ African Leaders led by Thabo Mbeki for drastic reforms and including actual name change signifying definite break with the past is the most resounding evidence.
But it is unfair to expect the juggernaut that is the former OAU now AU and which is our organization that we staff and manage and hence is a reflection of ourselves to perform any differently than we that birthed it. While the AU has failed in many pursuits, so have we the people of Africa individually, socially and even as nations. The AU has never been blessed with a creative and resourceful leadership capable of comprehending and conceptualizing solutions for Africa’s milliard problems. But even had it had good leaders, it still lacked a subject base, a followers’ base on whose behalf to intervene. I do not imagine it is easy being the umbrella organization advocating for the welfare of Africa’s people to a Heads of State panel comprising tin pot dictators like Idi Amin, Bokasa, the Nigerian clique, and all those crazy war mongers that were essentially the leaders of Africa who funded and sustained and were pretty much in control of the OAU.
Even outstanding and celebrated diplomats like Tanzania’s Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim could not manage much in that situation. The triumph of multi-party democracy which heralded relatively open governance in many of the African countries as well as the emergence of ‘new’ nation states like South Sudan, Rwanda, etc.is obviously a God send for the fortunes of the AU but we are not yet out of the woods. Africa needs better by and of themselves before we can rightly demand better from the institutions we man. Thank you.
* Andrew is Kenyan, aged 43 , currently resident in Rwanda for the last 3 yrs working as General Manager of a Tour Operating company with offices in Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.He also lived and worked in Tanzania before and Uganda. He says he is am extremely enthusiastic about Africa, want to see solutions and sitting in Rwanda, in the heart of Africa gives us a very unique perspective across the entire continent – sub-Saharan.