Is The AU Fit For Purpose?
The AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), had been in similar situations before – in the debate over recognition of Angola in 1975; and much earlier, a split down the middle in 1971 over a secret diplomatic offensive mounted by the apartheid regime in South Africa, attempting to try to pry the independent African states from their unconditional support for the liberation movements of South Africa, especially the ANC. The secret diplomatic offensive was dubbed the “dialogue” initiative, and was canvassed in the councils of Africa on behalf of South Africa by the then Ivorian president, the late Felix Houphouet-Boigny.
Houphouet-Boigny got the support of a group of African leaders all of whose surnames somehow began with the letter “B” – Kamuzu Banda of Malawi, Kofi Busia of Ghana, and Omar Bongo of Gabon.
Unfortunately for the “B Class” of African leaders (as they became known by irreverent African political commentators), many of their fellow heads of state saw through the manoeuvres of the apartheid regime: they asked themselves, “if the apartheid regime truly wants ‘dialogue’, why doesn’t it negotiate directly with the South African liberation movements but with us? In what way are we different from, or superior to, the black-skinned leaders of the liberation movements?”
Article Source: http://www.newafricanmagazine.com/features/politics/is-the-au-fit-for-purpose