Africa Day celebrations rife with calls for unity, but critics demand substance

Thursday’s 60th anniversary celebration for the continent-wide organization was dominated by calls for unity African Union (AU) Which represents 55 member states. But critics say the AU has become a paper tiger with lots of talk but not much real power to enforce its mandate.

Africa Day events across the continent honor the establishment of the AU’s predecessor – the Organization of African Unity (OAU) – which originally aimed to fight colonialism before evolving in 2002 to defend the sovereignty and independence of its members. The objective is to engage as well as encourage. their socio-economic integration.

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In Addis Ababa where the AU is seated, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed underlined that unity is “not a buzzword but a means of survival” in an increasingly complex world. south african President Cyril Ramaphosa echoed Abiy, calling for unity and “upholding the bonds that make up our destiny”.

African leaders gathered for a summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this year. “Africa Day” celebrations were held across the continent on Thursday, emphasizing long-standing criticism of African leadership. (AP Photo, File)

In his address, Abiy argued for the need for an African permanent seat on the UN Security Council and proportional representation in the G7 and G20. Ramaphosa urged for better governance across the continent amid conflict in Sudan as well as previous coups in Chad, Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso.

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“We use Africa Day to reaffirm the importance of strengthening democracy and good governance across Africa,” Ramaphosa said.

Critics say the AU has failed to achieve some of its objectives, but supporters argue that its powers are restricted to allow members’ heads of state to remain in control.

Kenyan political analyst and lawyer Danston Omari says the AU is a “dead bulldog” that lacks mechanisms to implement any of its mandates.

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Omari said, “This is a talk show that has no influence. If you don’t have mechanisms to enforce anything, why are you there? So in my own opinion this is a body that should be completely needs to be removed.” The Associated Press,

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