Jul 28, 2010

Another AU Summit

I’ve really tried my hardest to ignore the fact that the AU was meeting in Kampala, Uganda this week. But like the scene of a train wreck I can’t stop gawking when I know better! So, just what has been discussed by our fearless leaders?

1.  The welfare of women and safe motherhood are to be placed on the forefront of development agendas this year. According to the summit chairperson, Bingu wa Mutharika, "if we improve the welfare of women, access to food and health care, maternal mortality will significantly reduce." Okay, let’s see how this unfolds.

2.  The twin bombings in Kampala were obviously on the agenda, and were widely condemned. Uganda’s president, Museveni, has called for more support in the peace keeping mission in Somalia; the current mission is dominated by his country and Burundi. Djibouti and Guinea have pledged to send troops though other countries like Zambia have balked, claiming insufficient resources. This is not far from the truth but I think African leaders need to be more open and honest – just what peace is being kept in Somalia, and why should resources be spent supporting a puppet regime that barely controls the capital, Mogadishu, and up until four years ago operated out of a hotel in Nairobi? The only countries that have a vested interest at this time are those that share a border with Somalia and are at risk of seeing the conflict spill across their border as it did on July 11 in Uganda.

The country has been self destructing for 20 years before our eyes and why should 2010 be the year the rest of the continent takes definitive action?  We’ll wait for the Americans or the Europeans to take military action and then grumble about foreign interference in African affairs. Oh boy!

One issue I didn’t see addressed is the self-declared republic of Somaliland. How many discussions are we going to have about security in the horn of Africa without acknowledging the stability that exists in Somaliland and finally give them the due credit as a nation state? They have successfully held presidential elections, have a government, and deserve support. As long as the rest of the continent continues to ignore its existence and thereby denying access to trade, investment, and development the chances of its survival remain miniscule; another black mark in our de-merit column.   

3.   The AU’s champion circus leader, Muammar Gaddafi, yet again made a push for his goal in unifying the continent under a unified banner – “United States of Africa”. Does this man have nothing better to do with his time? Aren’t there any national telecoms he can purchase with his country’s oil money?

      Colonel Gaddafi, please stop pursuing YOUR dream and pursue that of Africa’s citizens. Our dreams include some of the following –

Peace and security in all 53 countries
Access to land, housing, and clean water
Quality healthcare in facilities with adequate equipment, drugs and medical staff
The eradication of preventable diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, cholera and dysentery, polio, measles, yellow fever
Access to quality education from nursery school through university/technical college
Employment opportunities that offer living wages in a safe and respectable environment
Rule of law.

Take your pick on any of these issues and a whole host of others I haven’t included. If not take a seat and prepare your next rant for the UN general meeting until such a time that you’re prepared to talk seriously about the issues that genuinely affect us.

4.  Sudan’s Al-Bashir was yet again defended by his counterparts. According to the chairman of the AU, the indictments against Al-Bashir by the International Criminal Court (ICC) are “an abuse of African sovereignty for a non-African entity to seek trial of a sitting president from the continent”. They have demanded a 12-month suspension of the arrest warrants pending a review by the AU. Excuse me while I choke back my laughter…may we just say case closed?

Exactly, how is the AU going to investigate the allegations against Al-Bashir? Have they even admitted that there have been acts of genocide in southern Sudan? Shall we send the ineffectual Thabo Mbeki or Kofi Annan as chief investigators? Oh, and let me guess the investigation will be funded by EU money! Just what is the point of this organisation?

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