Saturday, July 4, 2009

Choose this day who you will serve

The decision this week by the African Union not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) over the extradition of Sudan’s Al Bashir for war crimes in Dafur, is despicable. Jean Ping, the Chairman of the African Commission, explained that the decision to throw a cordon of solidarity around Al Bashir is a protest to ICC. This is absurd.

The African heads of state gathered in Libya justified their action as retaliation against ICC for its failure to grant a one year suspension of Al Bashir’s warrant of arrest.

That this band of disgraceful heads of government acted in this manner is not without precedent. For decades, the African Union and its predecessor, the OAU, has shown unfailing disdain for the plight of the African people.

This African leaders’ summit meeting held in the Libyan city of Sirte also announced the creation of the African Union Authority, a body that would coordinate foreign affairs, trade and defence policies on the world's poorest continent. This is another pie in the sky. Like NEPAD, it will never amount to much.

It is hard to believe that this band of irredeemably incompetent leaders, going by their record in their respective states, can deliver any vision for progressive leadership for a continent as complex, fractious, hungry and poor as Africa. They must first deliver tangible goods and progress for their citizens before they can claim any pan Africanist credentials.

Against the backdrop of the worst economic recession, deepening poverty and hunger made worse by a vicious tail wind of climate change and rapid population growth, this past AU summit has achieved zero. Colonel Qaddafi is just what he is, flamboyant and grand standing.

Significantly, this summit has demonstrated who these leaders really serve. Themselves.

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