“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” This adage which many have dubbed Murphy’s Law is in full effect at the African Union. Events this past week reflect the gloom and doom of what has become the same old failure of the African Union. There was a glimmer of hope when we changed the name from the Organization of African Union (OAU) to the African Union (AU). However, this development fell on the same barren soil and we are yet to ripe any fruit. It can be categorized in the same class of ‘hall of shame’ name changes- as one suggested by former President of Uganda Idi Amin to change the name of the currency of Uganda from the Uganda schilling to the Uganda dollar hoping that it will boost in value. When you hope things can’t get any worse-they do.
At the recent AU summit in Kampala (Uganda) aimed at addressing the refugee and internally displaced people (IDP) crisis in Africa-the current chair of the African Union Mummar Gaddafi was no show. To further demonstrate how bizarre this turn of events was, there was no official statement from Tripoli explaining the reason for this absence. It blows my mind that Gaddafi not only flew his tent across the Atlantic but also took the time to prepare and deliver a two hour speech at the United nations a few weeks ago-but has no time or explanation for his absence at a meeting of an organization he chairs- addressing the refugee crisis which is causing un-rest in East Africa. It was very clear from the election of Gaddafi as chair of the AU that it was a slice of bread with butter on one side-and we knew it was about to fall but hoped it would not fall on the buttered side. Now that that butter is on the floor, I believe it is time to cast the vote of no confidence.
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Not only was the chair of the meeting absent, only five heads of state attended the summit including Museveni from the host nation. Presidents Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Rupiah Banda (Zambia), Mohammed Abdelaziz (Western Sahara) and Sheik Sharif Ahmed (Somalia) were the attendees-or make it four heads of state since Mugabe slept through most of the meetings. What surprises me is the notion that East African leaders who have been most affected by the refugee and IDP crisis were also missing. East Africa has been home to majority of the conflicts on the continent in the last decade. Some of the previously war torn nations that have accounted for the refugee crisis include DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, election violence in Kenya and the Darfur crisis in Sudan. These conflicts have displaced an estimated 900,000 refugees and IDP. The more I analyze these events-the angrier I become as a concerned African. What is wrong with our leadership establishment in Africa? Do these Presidents really care about the fate of Africans who are suffering every day in refugee camps and lack a permanent home? How about those massacred because of their religious and tribal affiliations? What is wrong with our continent? The more I ask these questions, the more I realize that, “Anything that can go wrong is going wrong.”