In a consultation during the Second World War (WW.H) considerable attention was given to regionalism since states believe that only regional organizations could more effectively police world peace. Thus in May 1963 some prominent African leaders came together and formed the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) which later metamorphosed into the African Union (AU) in July, 2001, aimed at finding suitable and lasting solutions to the challenges confronting and retarding the development of African States. [essay critically x-ray the OAU/A conflict resolution strategy – the Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration and the Peace and Security Council as the mechanism for resolving conflicts within the African continent and the world at large, determines the extent of its effectiveness, ineffectiveness and the necessity of the framework, as well as challenges hindering the realization of harmonious resolution of conflict in the period 1990 — 2005. The study used the historical research method to investigate the Western Sahara (Polisario)/Morocco and Chad/Libyan conflicts. The study pinned on the General System theory as its theoretical framework, it was observed as major findings that the peace mediation commission has performed effectively during the period assessed, 1990 – 2005 by intervening in conflict areas particularly in the two interstate crises mentioned above. The study also revealed that the commission was unable to nip the conflicts in the bud, as such has ineffectively discharged its duties creditably to achieve the desired aims and objectives — regional peace and security. The Commission’s necessity to exist as major framework for conflict resolution in the African continent cannot be overemphasized. The study also found out that the organization commission was challenged by finance, inability to inhibit itself from external influence among others. The study therefore recommended that the African Union should be adequately funded. It is also recommended that democracy, its ethics and tenets should triumph in the continent to bring about inclusive government rather than deprivation. The study also recommended that member states should abide by the resolutions of the Commission, which if properly managed, the desire for a supranational African union is achievable. The study contributes to knowledge as it explores changes introduced into the new African Union Charter from time to time, to make it effective in attaining its goals. It discusses area of success recorded by OAU/AU in conflict handling, as well as presents an exposition of area of failure by the organization and its peace mechanism in attaining set goals.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of Contents
CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
1.3 Objectives of the Study
1.4 Significance of the Study
1.5 Research Questions
1.6 Basic Assumptions of the Study
1.7 Scope of the Study
1.8 Limitation of the Study
1.9 Conceptual Clarification
LITERATURE REVIEW THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
2. 1 Literature Review
2.2 Theoretical Framework: The General System Theory
RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURE
3.1 Research Design: Historical Research
3.2 Sources of Data Gathering
3.3 Data Collection Techniques
3.4 Method of Data Analysis
OAU/AU PREVENTION OF DISORDER AND
RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF ORDER
4.1 Peacekeeping and Peacemaking Mechanism: CMCA
The OAU Factor
4.2 Peacekeeping and Peacemaking: PSC: The New African
Union (AU) Factor
4.3 OAU Peace Techniques in the Western Sahara (Polisario)/
4.4 OAU Peacekeeping Operations in the ChadlLibya Conflict
4.5 Constraints of the OAU/AU in Conflict Resolution
4.6 OAU/AU Funding of Peacekeeping Operations in Africa
Interventionist Role of UN, ECO WAS and Others
4.7 Assessment of the Activities of the OAU/AU Commission
in Conflict Resolution
SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Summary of Major Findings
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The scourge of armed conflicts constitutes one of the most serious problems confronting the African continent. In the 1980s. Economists and political analysts warned that the deteriorating socio-economic conditions in Africa could have profound political repercussions. The prevailing conditions bear out the accuracy of this prophesy. Conflicts not only persist but are growing in Africa. While increased cooperation between African States have resulted in the reduction of inter-state tensions, conflicts within states along ethnic, religious, regional, economic and even clerical lines have multiplied, threatening not only social cohesion but the very survival of some societies.
Although, difficulties of definition render precise figures open to question, there were at least ten active internal conflicts in Africa in the first half of 1993, and four others where fighting had taken place since 1990. Refugees in Africa total some 5.4 million, and internally displaced persons number approximately 15 million. These figures are a measure of the level of human destruction that stalks the African continent (Bepo, 1995).
Putting into place appropriate conflicts management as a technique of peace building requires a deep understanding of the causes and nature of conflicts. At least the following could be on any list of the factors giving rise to conflicts in Africa: gross disparities in wealth among different groups within the same state, tensions between sub—national groups; absence of democratic structure and practice, systematic failures in the administration of justice; the inability of states to guarantee the security of persons, and various external factors.
The future of Africa, therefore, depends on its capacity to manage its own conflicts, where necessary with the support of the international community. The goal is pan-African – A peaceful, economically vibrant continent. The destruction in both human and financial terms of persistent conflicts is sobering.
Meanwhile, the international community is relative in attention to a continent that comprises one-third of the membership of the UN, propels Africa, represented by the OAU/AU, to assert itself and take the lead in solving its problems
The Organization of African Unity (OAU) which later at the Durban Summit July 2001, became known as the African Union (AU) was formed by the independent African States (excluding South Africa) which met at Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia in May, 1963. This new Pan-African regional international organization brought to an end, the three rival groups, the Brazaville, the Casablanca and the Monrovia groups. However the democratic government of South Africa joined the OAU in 1994. The meeting that gave birth to this organization was attended by thirty-two (32) independent African States. The heads of state and government of thirty (30) of the states were present in person, only logo and Morocco sent representatives. The objectives and principles of the Organisation of African Unity as contained in its charter are to:
(i) To enhance the oneness and unity of the African States;
(ii) To co-ordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa;
(iii) To defend their rule of law, their regional veracity and freedom;
(iv) To eradicate every form of colonization in Africa; and
(v) To enhance global collaboration, taking due consideration with regard to the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
(i) The sovereign equity of every single Member State;
(ii) Non-obstruction in the inner undertakings of States;
(iii) Respect for the rule of law and regional uprightness of every State and for its inalienable right to independent existence;
(iv) Peaceful settlement of dispute by negotiation, mediation, conciliation or arbitration;
(v) Unreserved condemnation in every one of its structures, of political elimination and also of subversive activities on the part of neighbouring States or some other states;
(vi) Absolute commitment to the aggregate liberation of the African domains which are still reliant;
(vii) Affirmation of the rule of non-alignment with regard to all blocs;
Thus, the remarkable change from those of the OAU is the dropping of the eradication of all forms of colonialism, the last colony (Namibia) having gained independence in 1990. According to Umozurike (2007) “the concept of neo-colonialism exemplified the fear that the departing colonial powers and their collaborators would want to pull the political strings even after they left. The slave trade and colonialism were terrible landmarks in the African experiences. Emphasis is now shifted to the consolidation of central enlargement, security, solidity, equality, human and peoples’ rights and international cooperation in science, technology, and health, among others”.
It was to this end that member states agreed to provide both durable and viable framework for political, economic, social and cultural cooperation among African states to discuss and deal with problems arising from domestic and foreign relations, articulate Africa’s vital interest and then project such interest outside the continent.
In pursuit of the Organization’s purpose, the principles of the new African Union (AU) are calculated to achieve the objectives and include prominent principles of international Law that will enable Africa to play its proper role in the comity of nations.
They include in particular, the acceleration of democracy and respect for human rights.
(a) Sovereign fairness and relationship within member state;
(b) Respect of boundaries existing on accomplishment of independence;
(c) Involvement of the African People in the activities of the union;
(d) Formation of a common security policy for the African continent;
(e) Peaceful Settlement of conflicts amid member states of the union through such appropriate means as may be decided upon by the assembly;
(f) Ban of the use of force or threat to use force among member state of the Union;
(g) Non-involvement by member state in the internal affairs of another;
(h)The right of the Union to intervene in a member state pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances namely; war crimes, genocide and crime against humanity;
(i) Peaceful concurrence of member states and their right to live in peace and security,
j) The right of member states to demand interference from the Union in order to restore peace and security;
(k) Promotion of self- containment within the structure of the Union;
(l) Promotion of gender equality;
(m) Respect for democratic principles, human rights, the rule of law and good governance;
(n) Promotion of social equity to guarantee economic development;
(o) Respect for the sanctity of human life, judgment and dismissal of exemption and political assassination, acts of terrorism and subversive activities;
(p) Denunciation and refusal of illegal changes of governments;
Efeizomor (1996), inherent problems have hindered and retarded the realization and actualization of the organization’s efforts to resolve conflicts in the continent. Some of these problems include the obvious fact that African leaders are not truly dedicated to the cause of the African Union (AU).
As a result, they fail to contribute the necessary resource support to the efforts of the organization in conflicts resolution. Also, African leaders do not often adhere to the principles of the AU and often do what seems best to them, understandably because the organization has no force of a supranationality.
Another major problem is that the organization has no adequate finances towards achieving its’ set aims and objectives including its goals. Thus member states are supposed to contribute their quota to the AU’s purse but many of them (states) fail to meet the obligation.
The organization is challenged with the issue of constant disputes and clashes between member states. This is caused partly by undefined borders between members of African states and attempt at territorial expansion by some of them. For example, Nigeria / Cameroun over Bakassi Peninsula, Rwanda / Burundi, Ghana / Togo, Kenya / Uganda, Morocco/Saharawi Republic, Ethiopia / Eritrea – The Horn, are good illustrations of some of these conflicts.
Many of the Member States are also members of other organizations particularly the United Nations (UN). Thus their commitment and loyalty are usually divided among these organizations such as organization of Islamic Conference 01C), Organisation of Oil Producing and Exporting Countries (OPEC), etal.
Political instability is another problem that is likely facing the African Union and as a result of this, many African leaders feel the sense of insecurity and they fear that their absence from home to attend AU conferences and/or meetings may lead to overthrow of their government. This brings to mind, the year 2009 overthrow of the civilian administration in Guinea by some young military officers and the Niger Republic as well. However, the African Union has greatly been criticized for its inaction and inability to deal with explosive situation in the continent which is one of the reasons for its establishment. African continent over the years had been under-going different difficulties, it was the purpose of eradicating the problems that necessitated the formation of the AU. And a careful study of the organization reveals that it has evoked an avalanche of criticism from various quarters.
1.2 STATEMENT OF RESEARCH PROBLEM
The desire to create conducive environment in the society for peaceful and harmonious inhabitation and coexistence within and among African states who perpetually struggle for the upkeep of perceived national interests and recognition cannot be underestimated. The methodology and/or approach through which the former OAU now AU harnessed in achieving its aims, objectives and goals to bring peace and stability to the African continent provides us with a fresh research challenge. The statement of the research problem is posed in the form of questions.
(a) It was vital to know first the relevance or otherwise of the Commission of Mediation Conciliation and Arbitration now the Peace and Security Council of the OAU/AU in terms of peace building in Africa functional or dysfunctional role.
(b) It will also be determined if the Commission serves as an appropriate framework for the positive realization and actualization of the purpose of which it was established.
(c) Is the African leaders genuinely committed to peace building in the continent under OAU/AU umbrella?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The fundamental motive of the research work on Peace Mediation in Africa: An Assessment of the OAU/AU mechanism in the period 1990 — 2005 is to:
(a) Critically evaluate the OAU/AU Peace mediation machinery established for the resolution of conflicts within and between states in the African continent and determine its effectiveness as well as its ineffectiveness in the period 1990 – 2005.
(b) Assess the genuine commitment of African Leaders in peace building in the African continent.
(c) Determine if the organization and its peace mediation Commission (CMCAIPSC) serves as the fundamental framework to be established for conflict technique in the African region in the assessed period.
(d) Identify the challenges which undermined the Organization and its conflict resolution commission performance during the period assessed..
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is significant as it is directed at unveiling the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the organization of Africa Unity now African Union (OAU/AU) in its capacity with regional responsibilities by evaluating two major peacekeeping operations in the continent carried out by the organization —. the Western Sahara (Polisario)/Morocco and Chad/Libya interstates conflicts, as well as encapsulating measures for improvement and sustenance of the conflict techniques.
This study is significant in assisting policy-makers within arid outside the continent in understanding the issues in conflict and peace building technique in the African region and beyond.
The study is significant and timely as it helps to identify and reckon with the inevitability of the necessity of the existence of the conflict resolution framework — OAU/AU and the Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration of the defunct OAU and Peace and Security Council (PSC) with its African Standby Force (ASF).
This study is also significant as it seriously addresses the challenging issue of global Peace and Security sustenance through the much desired cooperative measure with the United Nations, other regional and sub-regional peacekeeping organizations.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
Recalling from the statement of problem occasioned by the questions of states’ increasing quest for existence, survival and consolidation of national interests, most especially in this prevailing era of globalization where the weak states live to contend with very strong states, the research seeks to provide answers to the following questions.
i. How effective has the OAU/AU Peace Mediation Commission been in the discharge of its responsibilities in African region within the period 1990 — 2005?
ii. How ineffectiveness has the commission been in peace building in the African continent in the assessed period?
iii. Does the Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration or the new Peace and Security Council serve as appropriate framework for the positive actualization of the purpose for which it was established?
iv. What are the challenges of the OAU/AU Peace Mediation Commission in the realization of its peace building efforts during the period assessed?
1.6 BASIC ASSUMPTION OF THE STUDY
The basic assumptions that shall guide this research are the following:
1 That the Commission has been effective and played functional role in the resolution of conflicts within and between African states in the period assessed. it was also ineffective to a great extent as it was unable to nip the crises assessed completely in the bud.
2. The study assumed that African Leaders are genuinely committed to peace building.
3. it also assumed that the Commission is a fundamental machinery and serves as appropriate framework for the positive realization and actualization of conflict resolution in the African continent in the period 1990 — 2005.
4. That conflict entrepreneurship does not instigate and sustain conflict in Africa.
5. That the Commission faced some challenges such as finance, external influences, lack of cooperation from member states amongst others.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This means the range of actions or observations Emphasis will be on the various OAU/AU’s efforts in conflict resolution in the African region, but focus will be zeroed down to the Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration (CMCA) and the new Peace and Security Council (PSC) with its African Standby Force (ASP) by assessing the Western Sahara (Polisario)/Morocco and Chad/Libya interstate conflicts – Saharan’s self-determination case and claim over Aouzou (Chad) by Libya.
I 8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The research is designed to assess the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the organization of African Unity turned African Union’s machinery established for the purpose of conflict resolution in the African continent. To achieve this purpose, the research was limited to the activities of conflict situation and technique by looking at two major inter-state conflicts, Western Sahara I Morocco and Chad/Libya crisis in which the OAU/AU played critical role, Though the subject is as old as politics however, enough material was not available to pursue this study to the fullest because the phenomenon, conflict resolution is a recurring decimal characterized by changing order. The desire to broaden this research work especially as it affects gathering of data was however limited occasioned by the unwilling nature of some erudite scholars with whom oral discussions were carried out to avail the researcher the opportunity of audio and/or visual clips serving as empirical materials herein Also, although it may likely not have been an easy task for the researcher to visit these ‘war torn’ states then for practical data accumulation, but however, this research work was carried out after about three decades of the conflicts actually took their toll. Hence the available data were utilized in this analysis. The researcher therefore depended on affordable materials to execute this project.
1.9 CONCEPTUAL CLARIFICATION
Concept is an idea or a principle that is connected with something abstract. Conceptual clarification will help in understanding some of the concepts utilized in this study.
For the purpose of this research, this implies the ability and capacity of the OAU/AU to mediate between conflicting actors or member states peacefully to solve and or settle dispute.
Kegley, C. W., Jr. (2007) defines conflict as ‘Discord, often aimed at getting another actor to do something it would not rather do”. meaning a state of struggle, conflict and disagreement among various groups within individual (intra) African states and between states. For example, the conflict between Nigeria and Cameroun (interstate conflict) or the conflict within Liberia (intra state conflict).
“This can be refer to as methods for facilitating or disposing sources of conflict”
This entails the promotion of a political settlement among parties to a conflict. The concept is understood to include ‘good offices’ and, when appropriate, the tabling of proposals by the mediator Thus the first aim ct mediation is to get the parties to agree to settle their dispute by peaceful means. A more fundamental goal is to resolve the underlying causes of the conflict in order to create a “just” and permanent peace.
Traditionally conceived, involves the deployment of military and sometimes civilian personnel under international and/or regional command and control, usually after a ceasefire has been achieved and with the consent of the parties. Two types of peace keeping operations can be distinguished: Observer Missions made up of unarmed military officers engaged mainly in monitoring a ceasefire, and peacekeeping force(s) made up of armed contingents authorized to use force in self-defence when and where necessary to do so.:
This means to curtail existing disputes from escalating into conflicts and to limit the spread of conflicts when they occur.
Refers to a situation when a newly emerged union or super state takes control of internal affairs of sovereign states who have come together as one entity. For example, Reid (2004) in Kegley (2007) has this to say: “there is little question that the EU has moved the nation — state as a supranational regional organization. It is pledged to giving the EU dominion over its 25 members’ internal affairs and control over common foreign and military policies, while at the same time developing a sense of solidarity and belonging among the region’s peoples and emerging as a new superpower”.
LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORITICAL FRAMEWORK
2.1 LITERATURE REVIEW
Introduction of Conflicts
Conflicts in Africa like anywhere else in the international community can arise basically at the level of intra-state and inter-state arena. Intra-African conflicts refer to conflicts within a particular African state, while inter -African conflicts on the other hand is conflicts between two or more African states. However, intra-African conflict is very important because many intra-state conflicts often escalate into inter-state conflicts. Thus efforts is made here to limit the scope of this section to inter-African conflicts. Conflicts in Africa have usually taken two major forms either violent or non-violent dimension. The violent conflicts usually take two positions namely: violent short of war and actual war.
Violent conflicts in some cases have taken the form of actual war, a situation whereby disputing parties resort to the use of force to settle that antagonism, in other words, there is the outbreak of hostilities and the application of military hardware and ammunitions with the primary aim of coercing the opponent so as to make her drop her claims. The war between Algeria and Morocco in 1963 and that between Somalia and Ethiopia over the Ogaden region which resurfaced sometime in 1998 are clear examples where coercive force had been employed in the course of trying to hold to their respective claims.
Some conflicts are said to be non-violent in the sense that they have not led to the conclusive usage of military hardware and/or physical confrontation but there is usually grains in relationship between the disputing states. This may however not lead to break down of relations between the conflicting states.
It sometime takes the shape of suspension of all diplomatic and/or trade ties between the countries. Sometimes it may involve the recalling of their nationals back home, from each other’s country. For instance, in the conflict between Ghana and Guinea, where the Ghanaian government recalled all their nationals from neighbouring Guinea for giving supports to Kwame Nkrumah who was taking refuge in Guinea after his overthrow from power through a military coup. More so, the relationship between Liberia and Nigeria was almost at the verge of strains when the Obasanjo administration (1999 2007) wanted Charles Taylor to take I in Nigeria and it thus took the intervention of the international community before Nigeria eventually produced him to face the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for war crime charges. Most of the fundamental causes of conflicts between and within African states include: boundary and territorial disputes, refugee problems, ideological difference, and religious problems. Others are ethnic problems, charges of subversion and dispute arising out of non-recognition of government coming to power through undemocratic means such as through coup detat- that is defacto government. Some of these problems have led to open conflicts between African states which made it cumbersome and/or impossible to eradicate or avoid conflicts in the continent.
Causes of Conflict
Boundary and Territorial Conflicts
This has been one of the most outstanding problematic or troublesome causes of conflicts among African states. The colonial masters who shared Africa among themselves arbitrarily drew up territorial boundaries of different African states without recourse and/or respect for traditional, political, cultural and ethnic divisions/leanings.
Hence, because of this unwholesome fixture of boundaries, by the colonial powers, some tribes are now divided among two or more countries. For instance, the Yoruba people are scattered across Nigeria and Benin Republic. This arbitrary boundary delimitation by the colonial powers is most transparent in the boundary disputes between Ethiopia and Somalia, Libya and Chad including many other African states. Somalia is claiming the Ogaden region which is part of Ethiopia. Boundary claims usually as it is shown in the case of Ethiopia and Somalia, has to do with state(s) trying to extend its frontiers by claiming territory that is a part and parcel of another state. This is what is called revindication.
The refugees’ problem is another outstanding cause of Intel-African conflicts. The refugees’ problems can be divided into two categories — the first category include the refugees from those countries which are yet to be independent, these category of refugees are connected with the liberation struggle in the remaining colonial regimes in Africa.
Under this category we have the freedom fighters (Self-Determinists) who engaged in political activities and armed struggle aimed at dislodging the colonial powers. II equally includes those in search of better livelihood that is, young men and women fed up with the harsh colonial conditions and in search for better educational opportunities. Thus, because of the generally understood nature of this category of refugees, they do not pose much problems.
The second category of refugees is those from already independent sovereign African state seeking another state of their own. However, when a refugee escapes to another state, the home state sees the state granting asylum to the refugee with suspicion and regarded such an act as a deliberate attempt to perpetuate subversive activities in her territory. For instance, the granting of asylum by former Ivory Coast, now Cote d’voire to the former Biafran Leader, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu led to a strained relationship between Nigeria and Cote d’voire as the action of the former did not augur well with Nigeria.
It was also very visible that it was the Chadian refugees in the Sudan that formed the resistance movement and Frontier Liberation Nationale T’ chad (FROLINAT) that subsequently brought down the government of Tombalbaye in Chad coup d’tat. By coup d’tat we mean the violent change of civilian administration by military actions. This is usually followed by the suspension of legitimate constitution of the day by the new military dictators who then ruled by decree. It was on record that military intervention in government through coup d’tat was first tested in Togo following the overthrow of President Sylvanus Olyrnpio in January 1963 and subsequently took place in many other African states including Nigeria.
However, recently between 2006 and 2009, two military intervention on the civilian administration occurred in Guinea and Niger Republic. Though while the OAU was i yet in existence prior to the coup in Togo in 1963, the AU is intervening immediately by ensuring that peace reigns in that of Guinea and Niger Republic by maintaining the status quo- civilian administration. It therefore urged the military juntas in these countries to obey its decision to bring back civilian administration.
In the Togo coup, Ghana was suspected of being involved in the coup because of the strained relations between her and Togo. As a result of this, Nigeria and Cote d’voire withheld their recognition for the Grunitzky government which succeeded that of Olympio in Togo.
The debate about the legality of coups was pre-empted by the succession of one coup after the other in subsequent times. Subsequently, successful coups and counter-coups became almost legal and their recognition was Just a question of time. A case in point was the 1980 coup in Liberia in which William Tolbert, the then chairman of the OAU was killed. The late General Sanni Abacha palace coup in 1993 was highly criticized and rebuked by the Nigerian citizens including the civil organizations and international community until his sudden demise in 1998. In the Liberian coup datat, states like Nigeria and others frowned at this ugly development and the recognition of the government of Sergeant Samuel Doe was withheld for sometime. Liberian delegation to the ECOWAS meeting in Lome, Togo in May, 1980 was refused a seat and the new government had to undertake diplomatic campaign for recognition.
Religion has been such a critical issue in the African continent. There is no gainsaying that year in, year out, crisis over religious leanings have been very prevalent. Sometimes this had even led to inter-state crisis. The Sudan crisis though internal in nature between the northern and southern Sudanese created room for some African states to take side with any of these disputing parties in Sudan. For instance, at several times Libya under Mummar Ghaddafi was accused of taking side including Congo too, in the Sudan crisis. Also the increasing Boko Haram terrorist insurgency in Nigeria possesses religious inclination and threat to the unity of the entire state.
Ethnic problem has actually been one of the many causes of crisis in Africa or among/between African states. The devastating effect of the crisis over ethnic related differences cannot be quantified. Also, the Sudan crisis, as internal as it is, has some prominent element of ethnic cause. In Nigeria the perpetual J crisis that have claimed so many lives including children and women. This was ethnically, religiously and or politically based. Sometimes it includes economic disparity.
There is no doubt that a formidable African Organization was needed as a platform through which problems may be studied and settled. The existing literature here highlighted a number of challenges besetting the now African Union’s (AU) peace building activities. The literature review is grouped into two. There are those that could be regarded as general which discuss all activities of the OAU/AU, in conflict resolution in the African continent. This research is among the ‘restricted group’. in this study it will be possible to know the extent to which the OAU/AU has been able to grapple with the problems already identified in the existing literature. When the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni assumed the chairmanship of the organization of African Unity (OAU) now African Union (AU), he assigned himself five tasks:
Tackling African external debt and commodity crises, promotion of human rights and democracy, eradication of apartheid, and peaceful resolution of the numerous internal and inter-state conflicts in Africa. (Museveni 1990).
Hence as Museveni (1990) made his valedictory address before a large gathering of 32 Heads of state and handful of other leaders of the delegation at Abuja, he gave the organization a pass mark. But it was certain he did not quite believe himself for he went further to remark that the OAU chairman from his experience is “merely a titular head with no tangible power” (Museveni 1990). Thus as a way out, he suggested that the Secretary of the Organization be given more executive powers.
The chairman’s remarks could be seen as an apology for the organization’s failure to accomplish its set aims, objectives and I or goals.
Omajuwa (1988) stated that the birth of OAU in 1963 was a mistake. His views are based on conflict resolutions which include inter-state conflicts which have bedeviled African states for quite a long time. According to Omajuwa (1988) “OAU has shown publicly so much timidity and pre-colonial stance reflective of its own being” The role of the OAU Peacekeeping Force in Chad clearly illustrates this point.
Elobor (1987) states that:
Interstate conflicts is one of the ailing problems threatening African Unity.
These problems made the Western imperialists with their press to label the
OAU as a toothless bulldog, a sleeping giant.
The frequent boundary disputes are glaring cases of this dimension. The conflict of this kind was that of Morocco and Algeria, where Morocco claimed part of Algeria’s vast land occasioned by the discovery of oil reserves or resources there.
Thus for Ewoboshi (1990) “ OAU is incapable of eradicating colonialism, apart from the oral approval”. This observation described OAU’s incapability to eradicate corruption from the continent and suggest the lack of seriousness on the part of OAU member-states.
According to Ewoboshi (1990) “Leaders assemble to make fine speeches about liberation, anti-imperialism, and anti-neo-colonialism, it has indeed become a talking shop, idle club, and trade Union of African Leaders, a forum where members go to make mere rhetoric’s, indulge in flamboyant pronouncement and post dummy resolution that are like the toothless bulldog at the end of the meeting”. In his view, at the yearly summit meeting, many African Leaders especially the sub-servient ones have been known to make speeches stressing their uncompromising postures as far as apartheid was concerned, even to the point of vowing to down their lives. All these were mere rhetoric’s, lacking in substance and reality. In a sense they represent what late Claude Ake termed “defensive radicalism” the assumption of a radical posture as a cover for containing revolutionary pressure and for maintaining the status-quo. OAU being a neo-colonial creature cannot tight colonialism without first disengaging itself from neo-colonial trappings, including what Ali Mazrui, according to Akpotor (2004) called “of internal Colonization”. This inadequacy uncovers the shortcomings of the OAU/AU to fight the battle it sought to undertake as entrenched in its charter.
Speaking in the same vein, Bakary (1990) asserts that:
In no way must the Organization of African Unity become a sort of trade anion of men in power who will seek to support one another to resist popular currents.
An examination of OAU/AU in recent years has not only confirmed Barkary’s fears but has betrayed the great expectations of well-meaning Africans. The aim of establishing OAU/AU from birth appears to have been defeated especially when viewed against its declared purposes and principles.
Alake (1983) speaking on the OAU conflict resolution machinery stated thus: “In terms of conflict resolution, the OAU record is unenviable”. This is thus real when one examines the conflict in which the organization has intervened. Apart from the aforementioned, there is a regrettably lack of solidarity among African states. This absence of unity has wrecked incalculable damage on African’s progress. The enormity of the situation forced one time Secretary-General of OAU, ide Oumarou to lament publicly that sub-regional relations are falling apart with the OAU. He however pointed out that inspite of’ its gloomy outlook and myriad of shortcomings, the OAU has served as Africa’s voice at intercontinental level and has given Africa a stand on the major issues of world significance
Also writing in this vein, Seye (1988) remarked that “the OAU has been able to weather the violent storm of African conflicts”. In this way, he recognized that it has not been easy in the area of conflict resolution. There have been periods of strain and stress or fears and cheers as shown in particular by the difficulties encountered in organizing the 19 summit meeting in 1987. Seye (1988) went further to say that there are still conflicts in the continental unity, vital for the survival of African States. And that the organization has equally succeeded to some extent in preventing external interference in African Affairs by trying in most cases to ensure that African conflicts were not internationalized. He observed that though this talk has not been an easy one because of the evidence of Somalia-Ethiopia conflict and Libya-Chad conflicts must first of all be handled by Africans.
Clark (2007) stated that “the OAU is fast approaching the next millennium with optimism despite the ongoing political and economic crises dwarfing the continent. Also, the organization should be cheerful after surviving the difficult years of the cold war which really undermined its existence as the realpolitik and the cold war diplomacy expanded in Africa”. Similarly:
With a total of 54 member states it is the largest continental organisation in the world. The OAU has yet to fulfil all of its principal aims which are enshrined in its charter. indeed, peace and security, stability, economic growth and development are still looming in Africa (Clark 2004).
Clark (2004) equally averred that while in the decolonization process, including the democratisation of South Africa, it can be argued that the OAU had been very successful. That the organization’s shortcomings and constraints were as a result of the major powers, whose economic and geopolitical interests impeded the aims of achieving its grandiose project of decolonization in Africa from colonial rule in its formative years. This explains the use of foreign interference and its subsequent retrogressive tendencies for the organization and the African continent it covers.
In the words of Arikpo (1975) “foreign influence has enormous impact on African conflicts in particular and the Organisation of African Unity Specifically”. He cited the key example of the Somalia and Ethiopia conflict, a situation where Ethiopia backed up by Russia which was determined to teach Somalia a lesson for expelling all Soviet Union experts and nationals from the country in 1977, rejected the idea of a ceasefire. However, this goes to explain why the OAU is ineffective in the management of African conflicts. He noted that Ethiopia was not prepared to accept Somalia’s withdrawal of her regular troops from the region as constituting a cease fire, neither was she (Ethiopia) prepared to withdraw Russian and Cuban military personnel’s and advisers from the region.
Supporting his view further, Arikpo (1975) stressed that Ethiopia rejected the OAU s peace effort to resolve the crisis in 1978. Hence he asserted that since the OAU has no force of its own or the means to impose economic sanction on any erring member, the organization would continue to use the diplomacy of persuasion to make Somalia accept its decisions.
Conje (1972) writing on Nigerian civil war pointed out that:
OAU had demonstrated its opposition to secession in the Congo crisis. The case of the Nigerian Civil War was not different. Secession was viewed by many African states as detrimental to African interests, and incompatible with the goal of African unity.