As Africa Day is celebrated, debates abound about how to make the African Union more efficient.
The AU Commission chairperson steps down this month, leaving behind a mixed bag of failures and successes.
The death of longtime Cuban ruler Fidel Castro last month led to tributes for the larger-than-life revolutionary leader from all over the world. In Africa, from the African Union’s headquarters in Addis Ababa to Harare and Pretoria, leaders praised Castro’s contribution to anti-colonial struggles on the continent.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe (92) is famous for quirky responses when asked why he has stayed in power since 1980. Asked by journalists whether it isn’t time he said farewell to the people of Zimbabwe, he replied: ‘Why, where are they going?’ On a serious note, he also angrily told journalists who asked about his decades-long presidency: ‘Have you ever asked the Queen that question, or is it just for African leaders?’ According to Mugabe: ‘Only God who appointed me can remove me’. Are term-limit changes a threat to democracy in Africa?
With less than three months to go before the mid-July summit of the African Union (AU) in Kigali, Rwanda, candidates have started vying for the position of the chairperson of the AU Commission (AUC). The post has been occupied by South African politician Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma for the last four years.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has been active on the foreign policy front in the last few weeks – with varying degrees of success. At the end of last month he travelled to Burundi to head a delegation of heads of state mandated by the African Union (AU), and this past week he visited Nigeria to address a joint sitting of Parliament in Abuja – a rare event that last occurred when former president Bill Clinton addressed a joint sitting in 2000.
Since mid-2015, over 3 000 refugees from Mozambique have fled to neighbouring Malawi and are being housed in camps set up by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
When will customs officials at airports stop checking your temperature upon arrival from an African destination? In countries like Ethiopia, half a dozen medics in white coats check whether travellers had recently visited Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea. Admittedly, Addis Ababa hosts the headquarters of the African Union (AU), where most of Africa’s 54 member states are represented. And these officials travel a lot.
For many European tourists lounging in the sun on the beaches of Greece, Italy, Malta or Cyprus this month, it just hasn’t been the same as previous summer holidays. The reality and plight of desperate migrants crossing the Mediterranean has now come very close to home: literally.