Mmegi Blogs :: Africa day and security challenges
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Monday 11 December 2017, 03:12 am.
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Africa day and security challenges

Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the May 25, 1963 foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which is now known as the African Union (AU). The day is celebrated in various countries on the African continent, as well as around the world.
By Solly Rakgomo Fri 26 May 2017, 15:12 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Blogs :: Africa day and security challenges








 In some African states, it is a designated national holiday. Even though many praise poets maintain that there have been “tremendous socio-economic and political progress in the continent since the formation of OAU, there are still some huge challenges facing the continent in many aspects such as security and governance. 

I am of an innocent opinion that the AU should as a matter of urgency address the following issues as they are a source of regression for the continent:

 

Terrorism

There is a huge threat of terrorism across the African continent as groups like Boko Haram, Daesh, Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb and the Sahel has continued to torment local populations and last month a study by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation titled Africa at a tipping point showed some shocking results about the threat of terrorism.

Part of the study reads as thus “over the last decade, terrorist activity in Africa grew by 1.000%, a worrying figure due to high youth unemployment rates and the lack of a basic level of education.”

 There is need to realise that in Africa the combination of lack of economic opportunity and political disenfranchisement may become a toxic brew. Devoid of economic prospects and lacking any say over the direction of their countries and futures, young people are increasingly attracted to other alternatives.

The dramatic increase in terrorist attacks in Africa over the past decade, and the rising numbers of those abandoning their homes to risk the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean, show there is frustration, anger and despair.

It is against this background that the AU should re-strategise to mitigate the threats of terrorism.

 

Presidential terms

It is a very common norm amongst the AU leaders to bastardise their respective country’s constitutions to extend their undeserved shelf lives in presidential palaces.

In some cases, questionable or rigged referendums are used as a tool to extend the incumbent’s stay in office much to the detriment of socio-economic and political stability of concerned states.

We have seen extension of presidential terms in some countries such as Rwanda, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, and Congo Brazzaville, Burundi. It is interesting to note that the Burundian President has even gone on further to amend the constitution to abolish Presidential term limits! The most obvious factor driving so many African leaders to extend their terms indefinitely is the human desire for authority and prestige.

Another reason for Africa’s recurring third-term problem is the lack of an effective political opposition in many countries, according to Phil Clark, lecturer in comparative international politics at SOAS University of London.

“The opposition to these constitutional changes comes from inside,” says Clark. “It tends to come from domestic oppositions, rather than the African Union or regional powers or international donors.” Van Woudenberg agrees that, while the AU has been strong on rejecting leaders installed via military coups, it hasn’t been so good

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at dealing with constitutional changes extending terms in office. 

Democracy have often being the main victim of this deft piece of trickery by many African leaders and in most cases the image of Africa becomes tainted in the international community. The AU needs to rebrand and treat the issue of Presidential terms with the seriousness it deserves.

 

Colonisation of Western Sahara by Morocco

The OAU was established by its founding fathers like Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Emperor Haile Selassie as an inspiration by ongoing independence struggles as various African nations freed themselves from European colonial rule in the early 1960s. This means that the AU should uphold the values of independence from any form of colonialism. However, it is shocking that the same AU has welcomed Morocco into its fold despite the fact that Morocco has continued to brutally subject Western Sahara (another African country) to colonialism. Morocco left the OAU in 1984 after the Western Saharan colonialism was rejected by the organisation. However, it is shocking that this coloniser has been accepted back into an organisation founded on the principles of freedom to all African countries. This is a total mockery of what the AU stands for. The sooner they pressurise Morocco to grant independence to Western Sahara, the better or expel Morocco from the AU.

 

Abadoning Libya

Despite being regarded as a brutal dictator, mainly by Western imperialists, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi had the most progressive welfare policies in the whole of this African continent (free housing, water, electricity, health care).

He even pledged to commit millions of dollars to the establishment of an African central bank and currency in order for Africa to break free from the chains of the western financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank.

Since being deposed and killed by western backed militias, Libya has descended into chaos and on the verge of a failed state.

The AU have totally ignored Libyan people to fend on their own amid the daylight looting of their oil resources by imperialist murderous. One concerned Libyan journalist posed these questions to the then AU Chair, Dr Zuma at a summit in 2016: “What we have noticed in Libya, as journalists, has been the absence of the AU in regard to Libyan issues, organisations from the United Nations, United States, United Kingdom and various European non-governmental organisations are present in Libya and trying to help and others loot the country, but there is no presence from Africa or the AU.

Furthermore, the majority of the meetings at the AU Summit have not even mentioned Libya. Why is that, why is the AU absent from Libya when Tripoli was a founding member of the AU?”African Union needs to work hard to rebrand so that in the future there will be something more socio-economic and politically tangible to celebrate in Africa Day.

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