5 OAU founding members mitigate Panafrican commitment

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- Sekou Toure, Fulbert Yulu, Ahmadou Ahidjo, Patrice Lumumba and Moktar Ould Daddah would certainly not have been proud of the lack of enthusiasm shown by current leaders of their countries in face of renewed attempts underway to unite the continent.
The African Union, unanimously seen as a step forward toward the realisation of this objective, will enter its operational stage in a few days.
However, observers note that Lansana Konte's Guinea, Denis Sassou-Nguesso's Congo, Paul Biya's Cameroon, the Kabilas' Democratic Republic of Congo and Maouya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya's Mauritania could well be absent to this second "Historic rendez- vous".
Meantime Angola, Botswana, Eritrea, Kenya, Mauritius, Uganda, Swaziland and Zimbabwe were among the last thirteen countries to have accepted to sign the African Union's constituting act, though they had officially approved it since the July 2000 Summit, held in Lome.
With the exception of Botswana, Eritrea and Mauritiaus, Uganda and Zimbabwe, they are among the countries, which have not yet ratified the act.
Observers note that this kind of wait-and-see attitude does not just confirm that the positions of African countries on the issue are sometimes poles apart, especially as regards the most fundamental questions.
It is mostly surprising that Guinea (Conakry), Uganda and former Congo-Leopoldville (DRC), whose charismatic leaders shared, within the Casablanca bloc, Kwame Nkrumah's strong desire to build "immediately", in the early sixties, "the United States of Africa", a federation of african States dragged their feet on the matter.
This is "rather ironical", the same sources say, in the case of Mauritania.
Just like the Sahraoui Arab Democratic Republic of today, Mauritania's existence, a country which seems to snub the tranSaharan unitary ideal, was initially closely dependent on the OAU and the unfailing solidarity of the African Group at the United Nations.
In fact, observers recall, "it had been cut at the edge of the desert, just outside where used to be the "Great Morocco" and placed, at independance, in Moktar Ould Daddah's hands, with France and Senegal's complicity.
Escaping to that collective amnesia, Gen.
Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo did not only have the privilege of being the "last OAU Chairman, before a superior form of organisation is ushered in" as Col.
Moammar Kadhafi said in early March, at the Sirte extraordinary summit.
The current OAU chairman is, in fact, taking revenge on History, after having been in power for 34 years.
Observers recall that he was instrumental in the sequence of events that led leaders present at the Addis Ababa OAU constituting summit to deny his country the right to participate, after President Sylvanus Olympio was assassinated.
Other OAU founding members have still fresh memories, which explain why they were among the first countries to sign the African Union constituting act "on the spot" just after its adoption by the 37th OAU Summit held in Lome July 2000.
These countries include Algeria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Chad.
A last batch of countries, still under colonial rule when the OAU was set up, had the historic privilege of counting among the 27 pioneers who signed the African Union constituting act.
These are Djibouti (year of independence: 1997), Cape Verde (1975), Guinea Bissau (1974), Equatorial Guinea (1968), Lesotho (1966), Gambia (1965), Malawi and Zambia (1964) the SADR, a virtual State still fighting to liberate .
from Moroccan occupation".

20 april 2001 14:51:00

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