A Skeptical Look at the AU’s First 50 Years

This weekend, around 70 heads of states meet in Addis Ababa for the celebration of the African Union. But I personally believe that after 50 years of the African Union and Independences, we don’t really have much to celebrate.

African leaders have often been corrupt, selfish, and thus badly govern. African leaders often didn’t care about their nation’s economy, instead empowering and enriching themselves. Tribal loyalties have too often been stronger than our sense of common nationhood

The kind of coups which happened in many places in Africa, as the interethnic peace was difficult to maintain after independence and the lack of sense of common nationhood sank African into wars and poverty.

Notwithstanding their rich cocoa plantations gold mines and high Volta dam, which could generate enormous amounts of power, Ghana’s economy sank into disrepair and has not recovered the early promise it held out at independence. This is one example but it’s the case of most African countries.

Independence leaders had charisma but their government rarely followed up with the implementation, and such and their successors have often been been interested only in politics but not in economics of growth of their countries.

In early years of independence, African leaders failed to achieve all the promises of independence and countries suffered with ethnic, tribal and religious divisions. The sad part is that this is still happening in Africa today, in Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic, Sudan, DRC and many more.

Africans destroyed their educational system and then sent their children off to study in foreign schools, they did everything to thwart the efforts of their domestic investors and then laid down the red carpet for foreign investors, they destroyed their banking system and the stashed their loot in Swiss and foreign banks. They destroyed their health care system and then sought medical attention or died off in foreign hospitals.

The African Union has largely failed to resolve crises over the past decade, always appealing instead to the international community.

They couldn’t find $200 million to build their own AU headquarters in Addis. China built it for them.

Or we may celebrate the determination to defeat slavery, colonialism and apartheid but all these have been modernized, isn’t it slavery when we work in our mines, send our gold and diamond to foreign and when we need some, we travel all the way to their places to buy and it’s expensive especially for Africans? Isn’t it colonialism, when a foreign country has to decide, who will replace who, how your budget is to be managed? Isn’t it Apartheid if there is still places in South Africa where a black can’t go?

By the way, I’m optimistic that we many have palpable reasons to celebrate at 60 or 65 anniversary as a railway fully sponsored by Africans will be built from Dar-es-salaam to Kinshasa; as by 2015, African Union will have its own force of intervention and many more.

Also published on RwandaPost.org

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