By Mathew K Jallow
Precedence to the Africa Union’s shameful failure to assist in ending Burundi’s gradual descent into bloody civil war, and avert an unfolding bloodbath, was bred in Abuja, Nigeria, in late 2015. As in Abuja, contrarian arguments for military intervention in Burundi, to help end the carnage, thwart its spiral into total anarchy, and bring that country back from the brink of disaster, were advocated by some of the same opponents of ECOWAS’s two-term limits proposal last year. But the relative ease with which Gambia’s mass murdering tyrant, Yahya Jammeh, was able to exert influence, disproportionate to the economic and geographic size of the Gambia, and compel the AU to abandon the Burundi people, was shocking, to say the least. Yahya Jammeh’s opposition to the proposed ECOWAS two term limit was as much a reflection on the West African regional body’s institutional weakness, as it was on its crippling lack of a defined mandate, as its guiding principle. And by replicating ECOWAS blunder in which Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh and Togo’s Faure Gnassingbé were able to easily override the policy objectives of the sixteen nation member body, the African Union is also exposing the fatal flaws, which border on gutlessness and a complete lack of direction, in the face Burundi’s growing civil unrest.
The African Union’s demonstrated institutional failure in Burundi’s worsening political crisis, showcases an unflattering moral failure; which, crystallizes why, after half a century of independence, Africa, the wealthiest continent on the face of the planet, still chokes on its own vomit of utter incompetence, endemic corruption, financial looting, and economic pillage. The ignorance, patronage and paternalism, which are dominant in African institutions management, at the national, regional and continental levels, are absolutely disastrous and detrimental to the continent’s political and economic development. The AU’s failure to dispatch intervention forces to a member nation in distress, and on the verge of a civil war and bloodbath, brings back the haunting memories of Rwanda. And given the potential catastrophic consequences of the Burundi unrest, it is inconceivable that Gambia’s Yahya Jammeh, a monster who has executed and murdered hundreds of Gambians and non-Gambians, would so easily pressure the African Union to rescind its Burundi military intervention obligation. Again, as in the case of ECOWAS, it says more about the AU as an institution than about Yahya Jammeh, who acting out of fear, is fighting to maintain the status quo.. By succumbing to vacuous pressure and deferring to the banal antics of Africa’s blood-sucking political leaders, the African Union has effectively reaffirmed the existence of the nauseating institutional culture of patronage, which continues to stifle progress and deter economic development all across Africa.
Denying the African people their right as the center of power, and shifting it to Africa’s greedy kleptomaniacs and corrupt psychopathic political leaders, the AU has established that the body has learnt very little since the failed days of the OAU. The African Union, Africa’s regional institutions and African governments’ chronic failures of leaderships continue to have broad implications for Africa and its people. Over the past decade alone, thousands of young African men and women have perished in the Sahara Desert, murdered across North Africa, from Egypt to Morocco, and across the Middle East, but through this barbarity, the African Union has largely remained seemingly unconcerned and disinterested. But the murder of Africans citizens is not only limited to distant Arab lands. In Southern Africa, in particular, Angola and South Africa, and Gambia in West Africa, the rampant murders of African immigrants are chilling, inexcusable and above all, no one has been held accountable for these crimes. The barbarism African immigrants encounter, particularly in Angola and Libya, and across the Arab world, is absolutely unworthy of civilized human beings. The documented evidence of young African men and women, tortured, murdered and hanged, in the Arab Middle East, are incredibly shocking, yet through it all, the African Union remains silent, distant and seemingly uncaring about the blatant atrocities committed daily against Africans. As a continent, the lack of altruism and of a sense of African nationalism will ensure that we Africans will remain malleable, subjugated and backward for a long time.