|Any wonder Africa congealed into a question mark?|
|Tuesday, 31 January 2012 00:00|
What struck me as I travelled the 20km stretch of dust from Bhora to my village was the number of ghost shopping centres I passed along the way. As I grew up in the mid 80s, these were thriving hubs of black-owned general dealerships but which now lie as haunted ruins of a once glorious era.
It is a phenomenon that afflicted many black-owned businesses - So and So and Sons - over the years, once the founder - usually the father passed on, the sons failed to run the businesses left behind or milked them to the ground. Those in the transport business were not spared either as many of the buses that used to ferry villagers to the cities are no more than rusty hulks in car-breaking garages dotted around cities and towns. The general dealerships are now ruins slowly going to bush, sad reminders of unworthy heirs.
Well, it appears, this phenomenon is not only peculiar to such general dealerships, if the state of the African Union is anything to go by. Given what transpired at the just-ended summit in Addis Ababa, where Nato quislings were welcomed into AU councils without question, the founding fathers of the Organisation of African Unity must be rolling in their graves. Their predecessors have turned out to be the proverbial slothful sons.
This is not what the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Haile Sellassie, and Alfred Sedor Senghor - to mention just a few - had in mind when they met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on May 25, 1963 to launch the OAU with two primary objectives: Firstly to be a collective voice pursuant to securing Africa's long-term economic and political future and secondly to eradicate all forms of colonialism.
The continental body did indeed spearhead the decolonisation of the continent culminating in the political independence of all African states.
President Mugabe, no doubt the only leader left with the stature of those founding fathers, is on record decrying the loss of direction in the AU saying, ‘‘the period in which we are is a period in which there appears to be a reversal of what the founding fathers did and the principles of the founding fathers. Principles are being sacrificed on the altar of expediency as Nkrumah would have said. Because you are being assisted by the West, you, therefore, must bow to the West. It is a terrible period and it is selling out the principles of the founding fathers, and Zimbabwe can not stand for that.''
And indeed, his was the only voice that rang true from Addis Ababa where the AU unashamedly welcomed into its councils, the Nato lackeys from Libya, without any sense of irony. President Mugabe was naturally livid, and in his address to the Peace and Security Council plenary on Monday, took fellow leaders to task over the NTC.
‘‘We fought imperialism and colonialism and forced them out of Africa . . . Our founding fathers did not have the means, but they stood up and said ‘no' but here we are absolutely silent. We should have said no, no to NATO. Gaddafi was killed in broad daylight, his children hunted like animals and then we rush to recognise the NTC. We should look at what happened and we should be deciding whether to recognise the NTC or not. Well, well that was Libya. Who will be next?
‘‘This is not what our founding fathers would have thought would happen. We don't certainly represent them properly if we take that stance. So I am saying let's look at ourselves Mr Chairman, look at ourselves and look at Europe.
‘‘I saw a picture yesterday of Gaddafi shaking hands with Sarkozy in France after they invited him there, but those hands that Gaddafi was shaking were the hands that were going to kill him a few months later. How far then do we go in associating with such people?'' he asked.
It is a fact that illegal regime change was effected in Libya. It is a fact that international law was broken by NATO which overstretched UN Resolution 1973 to invade Libya and kill an estimated 50 000 innocent people culminating in the cold-blooded murder of Gaddafi live on international television.
It is a fact that the NTC was thrust to the helm of Libya by Nato and does not derive its mandate from the generality of Libyans, many of whom are still to come to terms with the personal and material losses they suffered over the eight-month Nato bombardment.
It is a fact that without going to elections, the NTC can not claim to have a mandate from Libyans. So what the hell was the AU doing embracing these quislings whose hands drip with Gaddafi's blood? The same Gaddafi who masterminded the transformation of the OAU to the AU through the Sirte Declaration that was operationalised in South Africa, Sirte being the town in which Gaddafi was to meet his gruesome end without even a whimper from the cowards in Addis Ababa.
Why was the AU in such a hurry to embrace the NTC? Why didn't it insist that elections be held first, according to the AU roadmap but which was callously trashed by NATO, before the NTC could be welcomed into the councils of the AU? What message was the AU sending?
That it's okay for westerners to invade African countries? That it's okay for NATO to effect regime change on African soil? That it's okay for westerners to butcher innocent civilians, use banned weapons like cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions which will have comebacks on the innocent for years to come?
That it's okay for them to hunt and hound sitting heads of state and government like foxes? That it's okay to trash and ignore the authority of the AU and still have the stooges the westerners install embraced by the same AU? Surely Mwalimu Nyerere and others of his ilk must be turning in their graves. With the notable exception of President Mugabe, the current crop of ahistoric pretenders to the AU throne should hang their heads in shame. They have history to learn from but are shockingly ahistoric. For instance when Idi Amin overthrew - with British assistance - the elected government of Dr Milton Obote in January 1971, he was treated like a leper.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Julius Nyerere and Seretse Khama, all boycotted the OAU Summit that was set for Kampala, Uganda in 1975 in protest over the overthrow of Obote. Not only that, four years later, Nyerere was to go a step further by running Amin out of town under the aegis of the East African Community after Amin tried to take his impudent adventures to northwestern Tanzania.
These founding fathers were principled men who could not countenance the disaster the British had foisted on Uganda, which is more than can be said for many in the AU today who rushed to embrace the NTC in Addis Ababa. This could have passed for oversight if the same AU leaders had not, earlier on, recognised the NTC even as Gaddafi was being hunted down like an animal by Nato forces.
What is more, contrary to the lofty ideals of its predecessor the OAU, the AU could not even speak with one voice as more than half of the AU members states rushed to recognise the NTC long before rigor mortis set in on Gaddafi's sodomised body?
Recognition of the NTC should only have come after the AU roadmap was followed and the NTC had won a mandate from Libyans. The AU must come up with clear parameters on what is expected of member states. Clarifying the parameters for democratic governance will give the AU a checklist to reject or expel non-compliant members.
Similarly, the AU should seriously think of setting up a standby force that can intervene, on the recommendation of the Peace and Security Council, in countries facing peace and security challenges or repel invasions from hostile forces.
Libya and Ivory Coast are cases in point that would have done with such a standby force.
The confusion, selling out and flip-flopping we have seen from the AU this past year is a serious indictment on the current crop of African leaders. They need serious introspection to rediscover the spirit that motivated the launch of the OAU 48 years ago.
Any wonder Africa congealed into a question mark?
Quo vadis African Union?