'AU Fails Africa'
Prof Mensa-Bonsu smiling broadly after delivering the lecture
THE DIRECTOR of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy, Prof Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, has taken the African Union (AU) on for doing little to stop the spread of the deadly Ebola disease in West Africa and also for dragging its feet in resolving the numerous conflicts afflicting the continent.
She said the time has come for the AU, after 14 years of its formation, to assert its authority and usefulness to ensure that its aim of Africans finding solutions to African problems is achieved.
According to Prof Mensa-Bonsu, much will depend on member states re-dedicating themselves to generating adequate funds for the effective running of the African body, since the operations of the AU have basically been dependent on funding from South Africa, Libya, Nigeria and Algeria, noting that now that Libya is in turmoil funding has terribly been affected.
The Director of the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy was speaking at this year's Alumni Lectures of the University of Ghana at the university's Great Hall on the theme, “African Union's Peace and Security Architecture: a Guarantor of Peace and Security on the Continent?” on Wednesday.
She told her audience that the Libyan crisis, Egyptian crisis, Great Lake Area crisis, Ethiopia-Eritrea border conflict, Somali conflict, Democratic Republic of Congo conflict, Sudan-South Sudan conflict, Western Sahara conflict, and Madagascar conflict have thrown the continent into turmoil, with the eruption of Ebola in the West African sub-region also adding salt into injury.
'In a crisis such as what is going on with the Ebola disease, it is somewhat disappointing that first, it has taken the Peace and Security Council of the AU this long to take a decision in principle to intervene for the details of the mission to be now worked out in consultation with various stakeholders,” she said, stressing that the move may be well-intentioned but the United Nations has already outwitted the continental body to establish a new mission in Ghana to coordinate the emergency response to the Ebola outbreak.
She explained that most of the conflicts have resulted from power-drunk African leaders who blatantly tamper with their countries' constitutions to perpetuate themselves in power, citing the examples of Uganda, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and now Burkina Faso, where the country's President, Blaise Campaore, has tabled a motion in Parliament for the country's constitution to be amended to enable him run for presidency again.
She therefore asked the AU to seriously address such raging problems before they result in conflicts on the continent, especially now that it has power to interfere in the affairs of member countries which have the tendency to generate conflicts on the continent.
Prof Mensa-Bonsu said the AU must improve communication and harmonise its relationship with regional economic communities and also settle command and make speedy progress on the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises to be able to intervene in any crisis with the necessary speed.
'It has become clearer that Africa's only viable option in respect of maintenance of peace and security on the continent is to be able to stand on its own feet and be the first line defence when any part of the continent experiences crisis and the challenge is to move the African Standby Force from paper into a state of readiness worthy of its name as a standby force, for it is the capability that would give it the teeth to be the true guarantor of peace and security on the continent,” she noted.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr
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