Kigali Convention Center

KEMBUJE — Once again the various presidents and prime ministers of African countries are meeting in yet another Africa Union summit in the Rwandan capital of Kigali from the 17 th to  the 18 th of July 2016, amid pomp and pageantry. These so-called leaders represent most of the more than 1 billion people of the continent in which more than half of the population are below 25 years. These leaders come from countries in whose belly lie uncountable natural and mineral resources of any kind, with the most arable land in the world, not to mention the presence of huge water and solar power.

These leaders constitute the supreme decision and policy making structure of the African Union called the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. Founded in 1963, the Organization of Africa Unity was established for the purpose of decolonizing Africa and uniting the continent in order to better harness its resources and potential for a peaceful, developed and stable society.

In 2002, the organization metamorphosed into the African Union with the primary objective of uniting the continent. In 2013 marking the 50 th anniversary of the OAU/AU, the Agenda 2063 was launched as a 50 year program for the socio-economic transformation of the continent. Agenda 2063 was dovetailed into the vision of the AU which aims to create, “An integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in global arena.”

The Farce

The African Union as it stands today is totally a contravention of its vision because 54 years since its creation, the union is neither driven by its citizens nor has the continent become integrated, prosperous and peaceful. In spite of that, the indications for the actualization of the vision are also limited, if present at all. Certainly Africans will not have to wait until 2063 to realize this dream, which in itself does not appear to be realizable based on the facts on the ground. What is clear is that indeed the AU has consistently been on a path that only seeks to disempower Africans by oppressing and impoverishing the people with impunity.

First. Since 2002 when the AU was launched, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government has mostly elected despots as chairpersons of the union. These include Obasanjo in 2004/05, Denis Sasou Nguesso 2006/07, Ghadaffi 2009/10, Teodoro Obiang Nguema 2011/12, Hailemariam Dessalegn 2013, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz 2014, Robert Mugabe 2015 and currently Idriss Deby 2016. Out of 14 chairpersons only the following six had favorable democratic credentials: Thomas Yayi Boni, Bingu wa Muthrika, Jakaya Kikwete, Joaquim Chissano and Thabo Mbeki.

To illustrate this point better, let us look at the current chairperson Pres. Idriss Deby of Chad. Here is a man who has been in power since 1990 when he first staged a military coup and since then running a very repressive regime in his country. Before assuming the presidency, Deby was the army commander of Chad from 1982 to 1989 under the notorious tyrant Hissene Habre whom he deposed in 1990. Hissene Habre then fled the country to Senegal where after 25 years in exile was finally tried and convicted to life imprisonment in May 2016 for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and torture, including sexual violence and rape.

Clearly Deby could not have been the army commander of such a despot for the entire duration of that regime and still remain uninvolved in the atrocities of that regime. The only reason Deby has not been tried along with Habre is simply because he is a sitting head of state. That aside, since introducing multiparty democracy in 1996 in Chad, Deby continued to win every presidential election amid massive irregularities in which most of the time the major parties boycotted the polls. True to his undemocratic credentials, Deby forced a referendum in 2005 to remove presidential term limit in the constitution. In April 2016, he emerged the winner once again in the presidential election with 62% of the vote. Would such a chairperson serve to realize the vision of any union that seeks to make the citizens drive that union? In Chad he is certainly not leading his citizens to be free and empowered.

Second. In its 2014 summit in Malabo, Equitorial Guinea, African leaders had the audacity to not only condemn and seek to remove the continent from the ICC, but went further to amend the Protocol on the Statute of the African Court of Justice and Human Rights to give themselves immunity from prosecution in Article 46A: Immunities:

“No charges shall be commenced or continued before the Court against any serving AU Head of State or Government, or anybody acting or entitled to act in such capacity, or other senior state officials based on their functions, during their tenure of office.”

This issue speaks directly to the continuous incidents of atrocities and the culture of impunity prevalent in most Africa countries where citizens’ rights are trampled in the mud and lives taken away by the state. But African leaders do not wish to be called to answer to these atrocities. Thus it is clear that African leaders only wish to lord it over their people anyhow but will not be asked about their decisions and actions. Yet the vision of the AU is to have the will of the citizens drive the continent. How could that be in an environment in which leaders continuously fail their obligations yet refuse to be scrutinized and held to account?

Third. Speaking of the ICC, is it not a shame that after having signed up to the Rome Statute and after submitting most of the African cases to the International Criminal Court by themselves, yet these same African leaders are coming around to condemn the court for targeting Africa unfairly? Yet at the same time, they do not wish to face any form of accountability in their own countries and the continent?

Since the ICC indictment of Omar Bashir of Sudan in 2009 and 2010, this despot continues to fly in and out of  various African countries who are under obligation to arrest him but refuse to do so. The most dramatic case was at the 2015 AU Summit in South Africa where civil society groups agitated for the government of South Africa to arrest him. As birds of the same feather flock together, Pres. Zuma refused to fulfill his obligation but let Bashir escape. The matter was taken to court by the civil society and the South African court ruled that the government of Pres. Jacob Zuma was under obligation to arrest this criminal. The court described the action of the South African government as unlawful and inconsistent with its constitutional duties.

Fourth. The AU Assembly continues to be dominated by leaders who have spent more than 10 years in office and still seeking to be on top even more. In many of these undemocratic societies, there is a growing incidence of leaders staging fake referendums to change the constitution to remove term limits.

The host of the summit itself, Paul Kagame is the latest to do so. In 2015 he organized a fake referendum that allows him to stand again in 2017 after his second mandate ends. This means when, not if, he wins the 2017 election he will rule until 2024 when the term ends. Then the presidential term drops to a two-five year terms. Meaning he could stand again and win the election in 2024 and 2029, thus effectively making him to continue to be president until 2034.

Meanwhile the man has been president since 1994 and stretching that to 2034 would make him president for a whopping 40 years. Lord have mercy! Apologetics for Kagame should give us a break when they claim that Rwanda is a shining star. Kagame is already running a very repressive regime, and we must not give excuses to leaders to oppress just because they build infrastructure and claim to develop the nation. Ghadaffi had done a lot of that, as in many other societies around the world only to witness those societies crumble down in civil wars.

Fifth. In view of the widespread despotic leadership and unaccountable governance systems in most of these countries, the resources of Africa are serving very few Africans, while these leaders and their few elite around them grow richer. Such poor leadership can now be seen unfolding in the newest state on the continent, South Sudan.

From 2011, when it gained independence, two men, the president and his vice, continue to hold the entire nation to ransom. Their disagreements always end up consuming innocent lives as they result in the senseless massacre of our people in that country. Yet the AU lacks any mechanism to bring about justice other than to continuously issue statements of appeal to the same people who are fomenting the conflict. No wonder they always respond with utter disregard for the AU and its statements.

All over Africa, the consequence of such poor leadership can be seen in the incessant incidences of conflict, hunger, terrorism, corruption and excruciating poverty and inequality. Millions of young Africans, lacking opportunity and with no hope in their motherland continue to embark on dangerous journeys through the Sahara Desert and across the Mediterranean to seek better lives in Europe. Thousands perish on the way. At the same time, millions of Africa’s best brains and professionals have been forced to leave their countries and the continent out of necessity to work and live in more stable societies. Still millions more have to flee to save dear life from despots who rule their countries. Such is the profile of the lives of majority of Africans in 2016.

Even those countries that have been identified as beacons of hope because of adherence to presidential terms limits, free and fair elections and peaceful transfer of power and a largely open society, there has not been much hope beyond that. For example, for the past 20 years Ghana has met this profile, but the country has been unable to transform civil and political rights into strong social and economic benefits. Unemployment, poverty and inequality remain high in that country which has been so rich with mineral resources that the colonialists initially named it the Gold Coast.

The same could be said of Senegal. Various assessment reports, such as the Ibrahim Index of African Governance also show that good governance in general has been declining in Africa. And even countries such as Botswana, Cape Verde and the Pacific island nations of Mauritius and Seychelles, which have favorable indicators, one is still concerned that these are yet to build strong independent economies because of the lack of industrialization. Without industrialization and development of the productive base of the economic, relying only on services and tourism, no nation can sustain a high quality of life for its citizens for long.

AU Passport

To add insult to injury, African leaders have now unveiled the AU passport, but only provided to the leaders themselves. What a discrimination? This decision begs the question as to whether the AU is for these leaders or for the masses. What would a president require a passport for when he or she does not need a passport to travel? Passport is for citizens who travel around the continent and the world to study, to do business or to visit places. It is citizens who stand in immigration lines at airports, seaports and border posts to be identified by their passports.

By giving a president this passport, what is its value to an individual African in our villages and towns, in the farms and markets of Africa, and to the African student? What is it that the AU want to prove with this passport? If it is to prove unity, let the African leaders first implement their own treaties by removing the barriers to free movement of goods and people.

African people need a continental body that is composed of countries that are run by leaders who are democratic and accountable. Africans want a continental body that will politically unify the continent now in order to harness its incredible socio-economic potential to produce one of the most advanced societies in the world. This is the demand of African people for the past decades.

Not a passport for presidents when individual Africans cannot easily and freely move into another African country without a visa. As the AU summit is taking place in Rwanda, majority of Africans cannot entire Kigali without a visa. Majority of Africans cannot visit the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia without a visa. The Pan-African Parliament is located in the city of Midrand in the municipality of Johannesburg in South Africa, yet the majority of African people cannot enter that country without a very hard to get visa.

Yet instead of forging closer integration and removing all colonial barriers from within Africans, these leaders decide to issue themselves passports that have no benefit whatsoever to the common African man and woman other than levy costs. If African Union has a passport, it must be for the masses of the people first and foremost, and not for a bunch of 54 individual lousy men and women otherwise called leaders.

All Africans must condemn the AU for issuing this passport to these leaders and demand that the AU implement urgent policies for the removal of colonial vestiges (barriers) and unify the continent now.


  1. Clearly, a fascinating piece in many senses. One particular one catches my fancy. That is, the huge discussion about the merits and demerits of an AU passport. Who issues it? Who maintains it? Who gets it?
    The question about why the AU has not worked out removing trade barriers between member states and removing visa requirements among citizens of member nations is a very important one. What is the AU and who is this organization working for? Africans? Or African Heads of State alone?

    These are but few of the issues Madi Jobarteh has raised in this article. It warrants a fervent and honest discussion. We the people must hold institutions to account. Most folks and the AU do not seem to understand this, at this moment.

  2. The AU has always been a joke. Talk shop. The Summit is like a social union where leaders get to meet ,have a good time and return to their countries.

    Also, democracy is more than just voting peacefully. It should be deeper than that. Ghana disappoints me a lot. ..

    “For example, for the past 20 years Ghana has met this profile, but the country has been unable to transform civil and political rights into strong social and economic benefits. Unemployment, poverty and inequality remain high in that country which has been so rich with mineral resources that the colonialists initially named it the Gold Coast.”

  3. That is a great piece that has made my day this morning before driving to the campus. The writer has said it all.

    ” Attitude of Majority African leaders” could be equated to African Cancer. Which need a serious research to define a revolutionary antidote.

    • “Serious research to define a revolutionary antidote”???
      Tweneboah Senzu, such research is already done by ARM led by Nii Amu Darko, contact him for details.

    • Any way do not have a copy so could not comment on it. But after that research was completed, why has it not been submitted as a model to guide leadership efficiency or kept in ARM -Library solely ? @ Collins Larbi

  4. As usual Madi Jobarteh is on point! The AU passport will be issued however to the citizens I believe in 2017 or 2018.

    We must all ,in our respective countries, press hard to ensure that our leaders are held to account. We must become a force of conscience on a continent where hardly anybody has any integrity left. we need to move into action NOW.

  5. Just like African diplomats work for just African heads of state and govt officials, the AU has always been just an extension of this.

    In 2009 I renewed my passport. Got one that expires in 2019.

    Now I’m being forced to replace it with a Biometric passport which is valid for 5 years, at my cost.
    Never mind that the same government plans to issue chip-embedded passports from September this year.
    Meanwhile the same govt and their “middle-man” cronies have decided that it’ll be a good idea to issue an AU passport sometime in the future. (main overriding concern being the booklet supply contract of course)

  6. The points raised in the article are resoundingly valid. My particular interest lies in the AU and its current protest of the ICC picking on African leaders. It appears our leaders lack clear understanding of the ramification of signing the Rome statute. Clearly they need to be further educated. I trust the African Center for International Law and Accountability (ACILA) can assist in educating both leaders and citizenry on the role and responsibility of member states.

    • If we have to educate leaders on the Rome Statute then we must really be worried. Leaders signed the Rome Statute so does it show that they did not know what they were signing?

    • Joojo Cobbinah I can’t agree more with you. Esi, it is not that these leaders do not know about the provisions of this law. Of course they know. They are now attacking the ICC because they know their actions and way of life in their own countries are wrong and they potentially are going to be guests of the court sooner or later. And this is what we need to understand as Africans. I find it alarming when common African citizens join these hopeless leaders to condemn the ICC. Seriously? When we condemn the ICC are we trying to therefore defend Pres. Bashir, or are we saying the lives lost in Kenya do not value anything? Imagine the hundreds massacred in Kenya and yet you have the political leaders in that country continue to enjoy their lives with their families. Certainly the people who carried the machetes and guns to kill did so on the orders of some leader. Yet when the ICC goes for such leaders at the invitation of the African governments themselves all of a sudden these same leaders turn around to attack the ICC. And then you have common Africans like me and you jump into that wagon. We must not confuse things. Tony Blair and George Bush must face justice for the Iraq Invasion but since they are not yet caught, it is also no reason why we must protect similar murderers simply because they are African. Where is any mechanism in African that can bring justice for the thousands killed in Darfur or in DRCongo or the ongoing senseless killing in Juba? I think we must support ICC while at the same time advocating for justice for the Iraqis and others around the world. Remember just last week the Ira Report was released in London and it sets a good mood for the justice sooner than later. Let’s watch.

    • Africa’s situation is so sad .We have elected leaders or those who grab power through coups who generally act like our traditional chiefs ,a historical institution that’s continent wide .I think this is enabled by the largely illiterate or semi illiterate citizens also playing their role as modern day obedient subjects of these latter day ‘Chiefs’ .Weve all witnessed the praise and accolade showered on corrupt leaders by ordinary citizens while they incarcerate truth speaking citizens and steal billions

      Then of course there are the intellectuals in parliament who have the knowledge then to ride rough shod over acquiescent fellow citizens with impunity ,getting contracts through old boy systems and so on

      Perhaps the beautiful ones are truly not yet born.

    • I find the article well written and brilliantly critical of this farce called a union. I’m however, missing the neoliberal hands in the game. For example, during George W. Bush time, Khadafi felt something can be done with this animal and tried to bankroll it in that direction but they pitched NePAD against AU and ensured nothing changed. Another example I find brilliant is the Chad one but I was missing the fact that uranium discovery meant the French backed Derby at the detriment of the people of Chad.

    • I guess it’s all we have with its glaring double standards .Yes it’s imperfect till it improves it all we have .At least Charles Taylor ,Milosovic were not allowed to get away with mass murder

    • Again on the issue of Roman statue hmmmm I do not think our leaders are ignorant about any actions they take.

      When it comes to indepth learners in Africa, we have many. We fail because of self-interest and hypocrisy. That is all.

      Let us never think for a second this leaders are ignorant about their action. They are taking certain path despite the repercussions because of self serving agenda.

    • Kari Bannerman just between you and me….let us wait until we are born or, as the wise man said, born again!

  7. I think most love the idea of an African Union. But a Union in a right direction. Not the toothless one we have. To become a Union with balls, the institution itself that is the African Union must be built upwards from the right foundation. The leaders and their actions in their respective countries must reflect the ethos (if any) of the African Union as an institution.

    At this moment, the vitiated state of morals of our leaders, together with a corrupted public conscience, are incompatible with the freedom with seek.

    For example. On a continent still ridden with trade barriers and visa requirements, a Union that seeks to work on a booklet (a passport) instead of working to remove these barriers to trade and removing these obstacles to free movement of peoples within the continent is a misplaced priority – I believe.

    I believe folks should worry more about the import of this development. I think folks should be concerned what this passport (this booklet) would offer that the AU has failed to accomplish in policy-making.

    An African electronic passport for heads of state (and to be issued to the public in 2018?) which will cost the continent an arm and a leg is just de rigueur for proposing neoliberal policies in Africa. We must be wary of such moves. Such policies will not help the poor and the dying. If anything they will be here to entrench further inequality and concentrate power in the hands of the already powerful.

    The African Union can remove trade barriers and get rid of visa requirements without a universal African electronic passport. This can be done today. Why wait for tomorrow? Why wait for a day when every African can be issued a passport from one office?

  8. The constituent parts ,nations ,of the whole a Union are so badly ruled and the people’s interests ignored .So how can the Union be meaningful ?
    We’ve got to get our nations together first

  9. I am more concerned about an African Union Summit that seems oblivious to the presence of the United States Command in Africa in 52 of the 54 member nations. How are you a Union when you are occupied by an external force? What some folks in Africa continue to parrot as the African Command (Africom). It’s not Africom. It is USACOM in Africa. We are occupied folks, and you will never hear our heads of state say anything about that. Very troubling for me.

    • You hit the nail on the head of something so purifying within the current conscious imagination of the African Union. Yes we are occupied by a USACOM not an Africom.

  10. Kari Bannerman, I even think ( or hope) that the Union could lead the continent in a direction befitting the soul of the good people of this continent. By that I mean, I hoped that the Union would lead nations to be accountable and fix the “badly ruled” nations. But lo and behold, the Union doubles down on the immorality of non-democratic leadership and they surely have no balls to challenge the dictator.

  11. What is the root of the problem in Africa? The article rightly points out that even those countries that are understood to have been ‘doing well’ still struggle with very fundamental things with industrialization illusive. Meanwhile, Yakuza ridden Japan and Mafia infested Italy were able to industrialize and advance. Italy still ranks higher than some African countries in terms of corruption. Who wants to be ruled by a tyrant? People have always run from them. But let’s compare tyrants just to illustrate something. Compare bullies like Nguema, Bashir, the two thugs in South Sudan, Biya, Derby, and so many others, to their their colleagues in other parts of the world who were or are also tyrannical, like the Gulf Arab sheiks who virtually rule for life. Consider what the long serving leaders of the Chinese and Cuban communist parties did for their countries and compare that to similar one party leaders in Africa. So while the autocrats have been shambolic failures, those inclined towards transparency and openness have not delivered transformation even though they are still far better than the thug ruled states. There is even a sense that the sole beacon on the continent, South Africa, is retrogressing. I don’t think African leaders set out so incredibly bad and stupid(for e.g. Nguema’s son is his vice president). I think there is something in the environment.

  12. Johnson Ayoka. Please respond to Solomon Azumah-Gomez because am interested too in knowing what’s in the environment. Lol. Please don’t say it’s in our stars. ..! Cheers

  13. The writer makes some very valid points. The AU is a union in name only so long as Africans can not move around freely on the continent. Can I see the barriers going down any time soon? No.

  14. The AU is a collection of Bad Leaders with Bad Governance, what do we expect from them than this?
    This is what Nii Amu Darko always say that Good Governance system must be instituted in every country in Africa through a template he has proposed so that the AU will govern well.
    We rather want to solve this Bad Governance problem from the collection of bad leaders – AU. How can a bad seed germinate to bear good fruit?

  15. If Africans are really serious to correct the bad governance systems, then we must support the proposed template, starting from Ghana and will spread out in Africa.

  16. Hmmmm. I don’t have all the answers. Maybe my friend Narmer Amenuti has lol. But I am sure of 1 or 2 things. Find the rest in the heavens lol.

    1. The typical African leader sees himself as a God. Why? Our biggest mistake was to compound the fact that our states are essentially colonial creations by replicating the executive style of leadership exhibited by the governor. The cultural factors that make Europeans want to centralize state power don’t exist in Africa. Africa is an exceptional place.

    2. Let’s face it, we the African people are fundamentally divided, not because we want to but because there was no real consensus at independence. Whereever you look there are divisions that go back generations.And the leaders, products of these divisions, know this. They think they and their faction are different from the state. They are not interested in developing the state as a whole in case they empower other factions. They always looking over the shoulders. Because the people are divided leaders do not fear mass uprisings. Even if a leader is overthrown it is usually the result of another faction rebelling. The cycle is repeated.

    3. The global environment is built on the manipulation and exploitation of Africans. Already paranoid of being unseated at home by another faction they are ready to hinge their fortunes on one manipulator or another exploiter just to keep their factions satisfied and the other side at bay. The same global environment holds back African industrialisation through unfair trade rules.

    So we have an environment where a leader with executive power doesn’t feel any accountability at home, has ready made foreign backers abroad, and is not opposed by a united opposition. Each country must find a way of decolonizing the state by diffusing power,not necessarily through federalism.

    • Lol. Narmer ha? Well said. I agree with almost everything you’ve delineated. This definitely leads to a more definitive construction of the current state of affairs in Africa. And perhaps will help us understand why Ghana for example continues to lag behind. It might also foster a concerted approach to policy initiatives that are geared towards the decolonization of our nations.

    • Johnson Ayoka, you have said more than I could wish to enumerate. I might add another central issue of mine that is equally close to my heart. The issue is that of African Education.

      Let’s take Ghana for example since Madi expertly outlined the irony of the free country that is Ghana. Our constitution is still in English. I haven’t read Ghana’s constitution in Ga, or Ewe, or Dagbani, or Twi yet. Let alone a constitution that might include the wisdom and knowledge of the traditional states. Why? You ask. This is the effect of a far-reaching colonialism and the centralization of power.

      If you think of how traditional states in Ghana for example have unplugged since the onset of “democratic government” in Ghana (which is really the continuation of British Governor status in the Gold Coast) you start with English. English and the English education our children receive is how we excised the traditional state from partaking in the day-to-day affairs of the Nation. They feel no allegiance to the nation and could care less who governs. This eats into the kind of fervor we need in order to demand accountability.

      African nations need to ask themselves the serious question about colonial languages and the legacy of colonial education on our children. You cannot be free until such a central issue in colonialism and freedom is fully addressed.

    • Narmer Amenuti. I overlooked education. That is important and fundamental. It could have erased the effect of all that colonization and neocolonization. So I agree totally. Education indeed is one of the key reasons for the behaviour of both citizens and leaders

  17. Johnson Ayoka, do you also think the current trajectory of the AU – issuing African passports without an inclusive continent-wide referendum – is a bad sign of what is to come? If the AU can make such important decisions without the votes of the people then we are rather moving in a direction that does not decentralize power in the hands and auspices of member nations where it must belong.

    You take a cursory look at the member nations. Why country in Africa has voted for a President or Head of State who claimed he/she would sign up to a common passport? If there’s going to be a common passport, it must be a trans-continental initiative, not an executive decision. Right?

  18. Madi Jobarteh, you have really hit the right part of the nail.
    What do they need the Passport for? What kind of leaders we have? African leaders have enslaved its own people so what else?
    Are we safe in Africa, should this Passport is issued to citizens across the continent for free movement as terrorism is in its ascendancy?

    Yes Africans deserve better.
    ” African people need a continental body that is
    composed of
    countries that are run by leaders who are
    democratic and accountable. Africans want a
    continental body that will politically unify the
    continent now in order to harness its incredible
    socio-economic potential to produce one of the
    most advanced societies in the world. This is the
    demand of African people for the past decades.”

    This is a good move to bring our leaders’ mind back home. They have wandered for a long time.

  19. This is great article Madi Jobarteh, I just dont believe in ICC as it has failed to bring to book Western leaders for genocides in IRAQ and Libya for example. If ICC acted objectively on all issues that affect International law only them will I think of ICC as a world body. Right now it stands as a court to demonise African leaders and leaders that dont belong to elite global north. I do not condone genocides, murders, abductions etc happening everyday in Africa and elsewhere but if anyone is to judge them they need to have shown credibility to all and sundry. Until then ICC will remain a joke if it conducts business like a comic show.

    • I see your point Ngqabutho Boaz Gumede. But I disagree and I am working on an article on the ICC and Africa to address your concerns. But just to hint you: I do not think Africa needs the people the ICC have indicted. The fact that the ICC has not got Tony Blair or George Bush yet is no justification for us to shun the ICC. And I know Tony and George will face justice. As you may know already the Iraqi Report was released in London last week and it has clearly indicted Tony Blair. The British Parliament is now considering some measures against Blair. But really when we condemn the ICC for targeting those African individuals, are we seeking to protect a man like Omar Bashir? For what? What about the thousands of African people he killed through his Janjaweed militia among others? Should they not have justice? Who in Africa is ever trying to bring justice for those people? Yet you have Africans like us trying to stop a process to bring perpetrators like Bashir to book. I find this quite amazing. ICC is not following you or me as common citizens in Africa. It is following individual leaders and warlords that have wreaked havoc on our people. Find time to go to the ICC and watch witnesses and victims testify what they went through… women and children. It’s appalling. I think what we must do is to strongly advocate for the ICC and the UN and other mechanisms to also target people like Tony Blair or George Bush, but not to altogether condemn the ICC for trying to weed out of African vermins like Bashir. We need to get our bearings right my brother. See the article coming soon…

    • I still advocate for a more transparent approach by the ICC I bet my last dollar nothing will happen to Blair and Bush no matter what the report says. I will trust time to prove me wrong. Also remember that most of these leaders that have messed up Africa are sponsored or creations of the West they only change sides when they see fit. The Global North hasnt shown that they care about Africa”s ordinary citizens

  20. If they want africa to be in peace let them introduce term limit to all african countries than their selfish interest.

  21. Africa is a farce!
    These AU is just the same individual leaders in the 54 countries in Africa who repress their citizens through ruling, so what difference would bringing them together as a body do? Collection of Bad Governance is AU.

  22. Thank you very much Madi well thought out. we need you in our midst… you gives me hope. May you live long n health to keep writing such inspiring articles. Wake Up Africa

  23. Very insightful article; I especially like how structured your arguments are. I share (more or less) the same sentiments – with a few caveats here and there of course.

    1. The issuance of the so-called AU passport to the heads of states is symbolic and obviously serves no practical purpose – but I am of the opinion that we should see this symbolism as a step in the right direction – that is deeper integration and the removal of bottlenecks to the free movement of people and goods. As to whether or not, that will happen – as you rightly stated is a whole other matter. It might be that I am being a tad too optimistic – but what else can one do?

    2. I have watched the ICC debate with keen interest; and though my knowledge is limited – I think that placing an arrest warrant out on a “democratically elected” (notice the quotation marks) serving president sets a very troublesome precedent; regardless of the fact that Omar Al-Bashir is very likely complicit in many crimes and should be punished accordingly. Even the Chilcot enquiry (which basically confirmed what the whole world knew all along) was not carried out while Blair was in power. I think that the ramifications of arresting the sitting president of a country as politically volatile as Sudan might be more dire than we think.
    In addition, you seem to have a lot of faith in the fact that Blair and Bush will face justice, many of us do not share the same sentiments; let’s face the facts: there is a huge power asymmetry which favors the global North, and that makes it unlikely that many of the crimes committed by certain leaders in the west will ever make it to the ICC. Does that mean that the ICC is of no use? certainly not! Just that we must not be surprised if Africans kick against the ICC.
    Anyway, I look forward to your article on that

    Finally, Any group of people the AU assembly of Heads of State included, is only as good as the people who comprise it; thus, with such leaders how can we expect much good to come out of the AU?! As opposed to some comments here, I strongly believe that Africa and the AU are NOT a farce; we are just in a very deep rut that will take time to get out of. This is something that we MUST do, one way or another, for nobody else will do it for us.

    I thank you for your insightful writing and look forward to reading some more.

  24. Mustapha Abdu-Aguye. Thanks for such a measured observation and I wish I can share in your optimism, which I must say is actually our nature as Africans. We always see the bright side of things no matter how dire our condition. It shall be well, as they say almost in all our cultures. But we have been on this road long enough and it has not got well yet, for the overwhelming majority. One can look at many indicators and argue strongly indeed that it is getting well, but then I always ask people to factor in the duration and potential (our resources, etc) we have and expended so far (including loans and grants) in order to objectively calculate if we should be at this stage at this time. So I am impatient, may be. But impatience based on my knowledge of the incredible opportunity and strength that we have, which continues to be largely wasted and looted from under our feet. Since Nkrumah, the AU has been presented with numerous opportunities to do what needed to be done. But these leaders only take us for a ride as they cruise as slow as they could just to keep themselves in power. On the issue of the ICC and the West, I am working on part 2 of my previous article, ‘Merge the ICC with the UN Security Council’ to address those issues. I think international political and human rights institutions and processes are situated on faulty ground hence the inability of the international community to finally and fully address injustices and atrocities around the world. We need to fix these fault lines. Hope this next article will provide more clarity as to the way forward. Cheers

  25. Solomon Azumah-Gomez is it a question or a fact you seek to establish? I prefer to take the latter. But wonder why you still lack confidence to assert that the rational action of the leaders are defined for them hence classified as puppeteers. They are played in the guideline of Kantian philosophy. The principle held by classical economics to construct all their theories for a market phenomenon.

    We lack sovereignty as a continent as far us this kind of created leaders propagandaly presented as democratically voted by the people. They are permitted there for the interest different from the subject they govern.

    Study the budget of AU and will realised is 92% externally funded. Hence we are managed by the formula of imperialism.

  26. I think it’s a cultural confusion which is unresolved that makes us not progress .The academics need to look into it
    A little over 200 years ago ? We lived in smaller states with very strong traditions ,on the way we conduct business ,our ideas of time ( Einstein shows relative time is no figment of the imagination) and so on .The culture of modern business dealings ,the attire for conducting business ,modern ideas of efficiency etc ;these are all imported ideas that we ,especially we have very strong culture and traditions have had to be dragged into adopting .Even now an African who is very efficient in their profession as an ‘European ‘ for eg would be ,could be at the extreme characterised as an Uncle Tom !We are a very relaxed artistic people
    Perhaps decades ago a business deal ,where time is of the essence would be preceded by long courtesies to set the stage -whereas in the rest of the world that is unnecessary(Japanese are a bit like this )and making a deal as quick as possible is the focus .This struggle of cultures is more acute with our more illiterate fellows

    Ok this is a shot in the dark filled with generalisations but I think it may hold water

  27. You are not wrong Kari Bannerman to some large extent. I have a paper publishing in the course of this week with World economic association with the theme ” African market Phenomena: catallactics misapplication it’s crucial role in Africa’s underdeveloped economy”.

    Arguing on the theoretical grounds of culture of the African people to it value under economic calculation. When that is not well understood World Bank initiatives are all bound to continue failing as it is already happening. Justifying the Africa of BC and AD vast difference.

  28. Thanks Tweneboah .The longer we don’t look for the underlying causes behind our woefully slow progress ,compared to say India which had its independence close enough to when we had ours ,the more it looks like ‘Oh Africans perhaps are intellectually deficient in some way ‘-of course absolute nonsense.But perceptions of us can seriously affect our performance or opportunities on the global stage negatively ,never mind our less educated fellow Africans might even think ‘ Kwesi Bronyi is smarter than us .Lets bleach our skin !’?Thank you

  29. Africa needs visionary leaders to that see Africa beyond its colonized borders. To me it seems African leaders take pride and prestige to serve at the helm of African Union rather that strategizing ways and means of forging for unity in Africa.. The AU chairmanship should be accorded to only leaders who adhere to the principles of democracy and good governance. It’s such a shame that the other part of the world is moving towards justice, rule of law and democracy but our so called leaders fighting to get immune from prosecution. Africa needs the likes of Nkurumas, madibas, lumambas etc to to salvage our beautiful Africa


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