Movement sees dictatorship as hindrance to African Union

Nairobi- Kenya (PANA) -- The secretary-general of the Kampala-based Pan-African Movement, Tajudeen Abdulrahim, says African leaders with dictatorial tendencies pose the greatest threat to the African Union that was endorsed at the Lusaka Summit of the OAU two weeks ago.
Speaking at a symposium in Nairobi, Tajudeen said the Union would not be different from the OAU if it is not people-driven.
"The AU should not be seen as a leaders' club but should ensure the participation of African peoples," he said.
He told the symposium that for the AU to be legitimate, it must establish a people-centred sense of governance with an African Parliament and a Court of Justice.
He said that the new Union, unlike the OAU would not recognise leaders who have gained power through coups and unconstitutional means, and urged the Union to discard the OAU's policy of non-interference into other countries' affairs, saying that the policy was encouraging dictators to commit genocide and crimes against humanity with impunity under the guise of sovereignty.
"This old and dubious policy has allowed African dictators to operate a you-leave-my-victims-to-me-and-I-leave-yours-to-you philosophy," he said.
Dismissing criticisms that the Union was Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's grand plan to control Africa, Tajudeen said such charges were racist and influenced by western countries.
Tajudeen also took issue with a clause in the Union charter which adopts the use of English, French and Portuguese as its official languages and "African languages if possible".
"For a Pan-African Union, this clause is too timid, we must recover from making African culture and languages secondary," he said adding that Africa has strong regional languages like Swahili and Hausa which can be adopted.

30 july 2001 17:17:00

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