In high school, I was interested in Government, History, and Literature, and at the end of each term, I proved this by scoring good grades in these three subjects. One of the most interesting topics in Government was the Objectives of African Union in the 55 member states.
Two of the most important objectives of the AU are ‘to promote and protect democratic principles and good governance’ and ‘to promote and protect human rights in accordance with African Charter on Human Rights.’ However, the AU and its roles have drowned and need a mouth-to-mouth resuscitation therapy.
Yesterday was another emotional day for me as I woke up and was greeted with disturbing videos of Ugandan military brutalizing supporters of Robert “Bobi Wine” Kyagyulanyi, opposition Presidential candidate in Uganda 2021 election.
The incumbent president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, 76, has ruled the East-Central African country for 34 turbulent years, and just when the citizens are clamoring for a change in government and staging a strong resistance to dictatorship, he has resorted to using brutal force to silence the voices of his opposition and the citizens, a political leadership style that is a popular culture in Africa.
In the last quarter of 2020, Nigeria witnessed one of the most brutal cases of human rights abuse and police brutality. The citizens (mainly young Nigerians) created a social movement with the hashtag #EndSARS and rose in fierce defense against the now-defunct SARS, a notorious unit of the Nigerian Police known for assault, unlawful detention, extortion, theft, robbing of hapless citizens, unlawful arrests and extrajudicial killings.
The SARS menace is not unconnected to the putrid leadership style and corruption in Nigerian police that has lingered for so long. On the night of October 20, 2020, Nigerian soldiers opened fire on peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria. However, the government of Nigeria hasn’t come out to deny giving out the vicious peremptory order.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been battling rebel groups for over two decades. The Allied Democratic Force (ADF) which originated from Uganda has been killing civilians indiscriminately. They have cited illicit exploitation of natural resources as the root cause and driver of the conflict that has left over 1,000 civilians dead since October 2019.
Other African countries like Somalia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Zimbabwe, Congo Brazaville, Ethiopia, Cameroun, and Angola have been in the hippodrome of massive human right abuses, war and genocide, and other crimes against humanity, but the African Union has chosen to be mute and lying comatose.
Before AU, the OAU had no right to interfere in internal conflicts of any African Country, but the AU has been granted the right (as enshrined in the AU Constitutive Act) to intervene on problems of war crimes, genocide, human right abuses, and crime against humanity through its Peace & Security Council (PSC).
Two bodies work together with the PSC: the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACtHPR).
The reason why the AU is quiet overall these happenings in the African Continent calls for great concern.
The OAU has played little or no role in the intervention of internal conflict of its member countries and it’s now so irrelevant.
However, for it to remain relevant there is a need to restructure and strengthen the Conflict intervention framework of this union before a boutade of civil war.