Can the African Union really take care of all African problems? In the opinion of specialists, the AU has systematically failed to implement the resolutions it has proposed. Today, on the sidelines of the Chadian crisis, the question of its usefulness arises again.
Since the transformation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU), the institution has changed a lot. The globalist vision of African governance once carried by Gaddafi is no more. As a result, the AU is concretely nothing more than an organization where one flatters the egos of the leaders at the head of its Commissions. The AU's mandate no longer encompasses real power, especially in conflict resolution. From the disarmament resolution, to the health emergency, to the Chadian crisis, the AU has been counterproductive to say the least.
Since 2002, we have therefore been used to observing with indifference the successive failures of AU resolutions. Since the bankruptcy of the last major decision of the AU Peace Council, taken in Lusaka, to disarm political conflicts in Africa, the continent has never been more armed. Some arms dealers are even among the major investors in the development projects of African states. According to the Small Arms Survey (SAS), 80% of small arms in Africa are held by civilians.
A long history of defeats
Since the AU's last disarmament resolution in 2016, deadly armed conflicts in Africa have doubled. The Lusaka roadmap outlined 54 measures to be adopted to prevent access to weapons by non-state actors. No measures have been adopted by African governments. Even the states that sponsored the resolution, such as South Africa, Ethiopia and Egypt, are among the more armed African countries. Since the resolution, the number of armed clashes in Africa has increased from 1846 in 2016 to 4811 in 2021, according to UN data.
More recently, the AU failed in its intervention with the international community to overturn the WTO decision. This decision to limit the manufacturing licenses of anti-Covid-19 vaccines by the intellectual property of Western pharmaceutical companies, was then aggravated by DU. Instead of going beyond the WTO and provide own vaccine manufacturing licenses Nigerian, South African, Russian or Chinese, the AU took the initiative to purchase prefabricated vaccines. Currently, because of the media assault on these same vaccines which almost monopolize those purchased by the AU, over 170 AstraZeneca doses have been thrown away.
In the even more recent case of the Chadian conflict, after the death of President Idriss Déby Itno, the AU has been passive. The constitutive charter of the AU stipulates "the condemnation and rejection of unconstitutional changes of government" in its article 4. However, following the death of Chadian President Déby, his son Mahamat took power, bypassing the constitution. According to Chad's highest law, it was the Speaker of Parliament who was to take the president's place.
Kaka breaks, Macron scolds, uncle repairs
So, the Chadian Transitional Military Council (CMT) would be illegal, by standards and clauses, in the eyes of the AU. However, this fact of law has no answer in Addis Ababa. However, the same article of the same charter of the AU quotes “respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance”.
The point is, the AU did not condemn the coup in Chad. If we are to believe certain analyzes, this lack of condemnation is due to the intervention of the President of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki. This former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Chad would have been a very close friend of the Débys. Faki had even been director of Idriss Déby Itno's cabinet. His election to the presidency of the AU Commission was decided in 2017. It came only a few months after the doubling of the French military presence in the Sahel, mandated by Chad.
This close associate of the late President Déby also had a close relationship with the presidential family. According to the Mondafrique newspaper, the new interim president, Mahamat Déby, called him “uncle”. It is therefore under the aegis of the Commission chaired by Moussa Faki, that the AU has only expressed "its deep concern" for the situation in Chad.
The crackdown on the demonstrations in N'Djamena, which took place on April 26 and 27, by the armed forces, is the responsibility of all member states of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC). And despite the condemnation of the French president of these events, the AU has remained in line with the heir to the Chadian presidency. During a speech by the French president, he said: "We are for a peaceful and inclusive transition, not for a succession plan," Emmanuel Macron said.
On the side of the AU PSC, on the other hand, the equivalent statement was more flexible: "The PSC calls on all Chadian stakeholders to immediately engage in the national dialogue," the statement read. It makes you wonder if the African Union really has a say in the Chadian crisis, or in African affairs.