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 eastern DRC.

The AU took over in 2002, switching its name in a bid to shrug off the OAU’s troubled policy of non-interference in member states’ affairs, which allowed leaders to shirk democratic elections and abuse human rights without criticism from their neighbours. In recent years, the AU’s role in combat – such as its mission in Somalia to battle al-Qaeda linked Islamists – has shown it can take concrete action, even if the funding for that mission comes mainly from Western backers. But at the same time, the splits revealed by the 2011 conflict in Libya – when members squabbled between those wanting to recognise rebels and those backing Muammar Gaddafi – showed its disunity and lack of global clout.

Gaddafi’s death also stripped the AU of a major source of funding. Leaders will discuss finding backers for the cash-strapped body at the summit meeting opening today. Mali is expected to be discussed: it is preparing to receive a UN peacekeeping force to support French soldiers fighting Islamist rebels in the desert north since January.

The agenda will also likely include Madagascar – in political deadlock since a 2009 coup – and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where United Nations-backed government soldiers are struggling to quash rebels. The main rebel movement there, the M23 has voiced concern over recent killings in the area that it says seem to be targeting ‘tall men with long noses’.

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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