Monday, April 27, 2009



By Otieno Sungu
April 27, 2009

Africa is arguablly one continent rich in minerals,probably richer than we currently envisage for not much of its minerals have been discovered if not explored and mined.

Africa is a continent that has contributed greatly to the developement of the world as we know it, beginning with the craddle of mankind to it's labour force during slave trade on which the foundations of great economies of the Western world today were laid.

Africa definitely is a great continent, rich and diverse in cultures compared to Asia or Europe for instance.

Africa has had a human resource more resolute to survive than any other continent, that with communities with rudimentary technology before its conquest, its people fought disease, poverty, inequity and domination successfully, had political structures that ensured harmony and peaceful co-existance; something to commend our forefathers for.

However,this great continent has suffered the worst calamity ever since it liberated itself from Western colonialism( again a fight wedged with crude weapons that drove away the colonisers).Though disease, poverty, tribalism,illiteracy and many other things plague our continent, our worst enemy has been, with exception of a very few; Africa's leaders.

I shall not recount the dictators of yore such as Iddi Amin,Sani Abacha and Bokassa or today's Mugabe and Gadaffi but wish to focus on a club of African leaders calling itself the African Union.This is actually a union which has not the interest of Africa's problems or worse still, may not even have the grasp of what our problems in Africa are.This is the new club of dictators masquarading as Africa's leaders.How else would popularly elected leaders be wining, dining and conferencing with despots in the name of securing Africa, enhancing human rights and democracy? How can the two opposites be talking the same language?

It is amazing that the AU has not transformed itself into a union that has solutions to Africa's challenges and every other year Heads of States and govenrments from all over Africa waste tax payers money from across Africa(twice every one year) to go and holiday in one or the other cities of Africa in the pretext of discussing issues affecting Africa.

The AU has failed miserably to ensure democracy, the conerstone on which any society can thrive, takes root in africa.

These are among the AU's objectives;

..... to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent; to promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples; to achieve peace and security in Africa; and to promote democratic institutions, good governance and human rights.

Of all these, I am yet to find out one that the AU, since its inception in July 2002 can give a favourable report card on and claim forward movement across africa.

Take a case of promoting democratic institutions, the AU's handling of both botched elactions in Kenya and Zimbabwe is a true indication that it is a failure and embarrasment to Africa and a club of leaders hell bent on hanging to power with the help of club members such as former South African President Thabo Mbeki. How can an institution claiming to promote democracy be led by a man who has never subjected himself to free and fair universal suffrage to get legitimacy from the populace he pupports to lead? When were Presidential elections last held in Libya and whom did Muammar Gadaffi beat in those elections? Is this the type of man to lead Africa's vision for true democracy?

What human rights can the AU be promoting when a popolar uprising like the one in Madagascar is what they are busy fighting instead of insisting on democratic fabrics of members states to avoid the myriad coups,counter coups,popoluar uprisings and revolutions that not only continue to plague Africa but very pregnant in many nations even at the moment?

How can the AU allow among its members blatant election fraudsters like Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Kibaki of Kenya and even give such people time to address its conferences?

It is a shame that while its parallel the EU can suspend member states or deny membership to states that have not shown concrete steps towards securing human rights and open democracy, the AU opens its doors for all sorts of African despots like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda,Bingu Wa Mutharika , Muamar al Gadaffi of Libya and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe just to name a few.

This club of visionless leaders should be rejected by the people of Africa for it has failed to secure Africa like in Darfur,DRC Congo, Somalia, Chad and many other places. It is a waste of resources considering countries have to contribute to its administrative budget and the 53 Presidents and Ministers trips very twice a year.

We still rely on the UN, USA and Western countries to solve our problems, including piracy on our seas in the Horn of Africa region.It is time the people of Africa asked tough questions to this outfit and demand answers for it is sustained by taxes from the hard working African man/woman.

Otieno Sungu,
Juba-Southern Sudan.
Tel-+256 124 984
+254 734 890 012.