Pomp and jubilation mark African Union’s 50th anniversary

Democratic Repubic of Congio President Joseph Kabila (R) joins Cote D'Ivoire President Ouattara to celebrate AU's 5oth anniversary as war  tensions build up in his country.
Democratic Repubic of Congo President Joseph Kabila (R) joins Cote D’Ivoire President Ouattara to celebrate AU’s 50th anniversary as war tension builds up in the eastern DRC.

African leaders yesterday opened extravagant celebrations for the 50th jubilee of the continental bloc, with Africa’s myriad problems set aside for a day to mark the progress that has been made. African Union Chairman and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told leaders as he opened the celebrations they should seek to “create a continent free from poverty and conflict, and an Africa whose citizens enjoy a middle income status.”

Today’s 54-member AU is the successor of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), established amid the heady days as independence from colonial rule swept the continent in 1963. “While our founders met for the formation of the OAU at the dawn of the independence period 50 years ago, it is fitting that we are meeting here today at a time when Africa is rising,” Hailemariam added, speaking in the modern Chinese-built AU headquarters.

Leaders said the celebrations would boost the movement to support pan-Africanism. “When we therefore talk about African solutions to African problems, it is because we know that we can only permanently silence the guns if we act in solidarity and unity,” said AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

But while speaking optimistically about ‘the bright future of Africa’, she also noted that “the self-reliance and economic independence that our founders spoke of remains a bit elusive and social inequalities remain.” African leaders were joined by UN leader Ban Ki-moon, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and US Secretary of State John Kerry, while French President Francois Hollande and China’s Vice Premier Wang Yang were expected to attend celebrations later.

One thought on “Pomp and jubilation mark African Union’s 50th anniversary

  • May 26, 2013 at 8:14 pm
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    50 years of what? It is shocking that African leaders would meet i Ethiopia to celebrate what they term as 50 years of Africa’s success. Unless I am missing something here, I do not see 50 years of success when two African leaders are wanted by the International Criminal Court for crime against humanity and other crimes committed against their own people. Uganda police has taken over two media houses and have shut both down for a week now. Congolese with the support of Rwandan government are slaughtering each other, Darfur has not seen peace in nearly a decade, Northern Uganda is barely recovering from 20 years of internal carnage, in Kampala, when it rains, one needs a kayak to move about, African governments invest more in defence for the purpose of fighting and killing their own people, most government hospitals throughout the continent are nearly empty, Somalia has not had a government in 2 decades, African leaders still flying around world capitals in the West to beg for aid money, Africa’s natural resources are being extracted by foreign companies and 80% of the income goes overseas and public transportation is a mess throughout the continent. With all these, one wonders what African leaders are celebrating in Ethiopia this week. It would have been best if they gathered there to mourn the death of the continent’s orderly politics as economic development!

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