The future of Africa lies in the Unity of its lone countries. In order to move towards a United Africa; Africa must fully understand the genesis of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and its metamorphism into the African Union (AU) and deploy its full potential to unite all the African solitary countries.
In this first part of a 3-tier series of article we trace the development and the activities of the AU towards the unification of the African continent.
The AU began as the OAU on the 25th May 1963 under the abled leadership of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana. The OAU was a loose confederation of 32 African states seeking to rebuild the continent from the ashes of colonialism and imperialism as well as unite the continent to gain complete economic freedom. By the 1990s all African states were free from colonialism and apartheid and the entire African continent was represented in the OAU. The objective of the OAU to evolve into a full political union was now eminent and the OAU now needed to shift away from focusing on liberation activities toward creating a politically and economically unified African states.
In 2002 African leaders under Muamar Gaddafi of Libya established the African Union (AU) in Seattle Libya to accelerate the process of integration and ultimate unification of the African states. Since then progress towards the implementation of the core objectives of the AU including the formation of UA Assembly; Executive Council; the Pan-African Parliament (PAP); Judicial and Human Rights Institutions; The Commission; the Peace and Security Council; Financial Institutions and other institutions have been recorded.
AU Assembly is a supreme organ of Heads of State and Government from all Member States. The Assembly determines the AU’s policies, establishes priorities, adopts program and monitors the implementation of policies and decisions to accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the African continent.
The Executive Council is made up of Foreign Ministers of Member Countries works to support the AU Assembly and is responsible to the Assembly.
The mandate of the Executive Council is to coordinate and take decisions on policies in areas of common interest to Member States and consider issues referred to by the Assembly. The Pan-African Parliament is a political forum for the African States to keep conversing on the way forward towards the political union.
Its core objective is to ensure the full participation of African peoples in the development and economic integration of the continent.
The AU also established the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights with the objectives of overseeing and interpreting the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights in order to promote and protect human rights and basic freedoms in Africa.
There is also the African Union Commission (AUC) which is the AU’s secretariat with specific functions of representing the AU and defend its interests as mandated by the Assembly and Executive Council.
The AU Assembly had also adopted protocols to establish three specific financial organs; the African Central Bank (ACB), African Investment Bank (AIB) and African Monetary Fund (AMF) to promote international monetary cooperation through a permanent institution.
To date none have been established but there is only a plan for the establishment of the ACB by 2020, and a roll out pilot project was initiated in May 2015. The AU Peace and Security Council was established to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts in Africa that have repeatedly been caused by warfare and political infighting, both within and across member states; although there are difficulties in implementing it.
Although the progress toward establishing the union’s institutional structures has been satisfactory, the noble goal of creating a united Africa remain unachieved as African leadership lacks the political will as well as the change of leadership always retards the AU in its mission to achieve a united Africa.
Dr Kafumu is the Member of Parliament for Igunga Constituency