Africa Day celebrations rife with calls for unity, but critics demand substance

Calls for unity dominated Thursday’s 60th anniversary celebrations African Union (AU) which represented 55 member countries. But critics say the AU has become a paper tiger with lots of talk, but not much real power to implement its mandate.

Africa Day celebrations across the continent honor the founder of the AU’s predecessor – The Organization of African Unity (OAU) – whose original mission was to fight against colonialism before it evolved in 2002 to defend the sovereignty and independence of its members. As well as motivational objectives can be included. their socio-economic integration.

The conflict in Sudan has displaced more than 1.3 million people, including some 320,000 from neighboring countries.

In Addis Ababa, where the AU is sitting, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed emphasized that unity is “no longer a catchphrase but a means of survival” in an increasingly complex world. of South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed Abiy’s call for unity and called for “upholding the bonds that shape our destiny.”

African leaders gathered earlier this year for a summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “Africa Day” celebrations were held across the continent on Thursday, underscoring longstanding criticism of African leadership. (AP Photo, File)

In his address, Abiy discussed the need for an African permanent seat in the UN Security Council and proportional representation in the G7 and G20. Ramaphosa has pushed for better governance across the continent amid conflicts in Sudan, as well as previous coups in Chad, Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

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“We use Africa Day to reaffirm the importance of strengthening democracy and good governance across Africa,” Ramaphosa said.

Critics say the AU has failed to achieve some of its goals, but supporters say its powers are limited to allow member heads of state to remain in control.

Kenyan political analyst and lawyer Dunstan Omari says the AU is a “dead bulldog” that lacks mechanisms to implement any of its mandates.

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“It’s a talk show that doesn’t have any impact. If you don’t have a mechanism to enforce anything, why are you there? So in my view it’s a body that needs to be put in place,” Omari said. Needs to be completely removed”. Associated Press.

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