The Herald (Harare)

12 September 2011

Zimbabwe: African Union's Decision on Libyan NTC Noble

Photo: SA Presidency
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, right, hosted a meeting of the African Union Ad Hoc High Level Committee on Libya. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is on the left.

opinion

This refusal opened floodgates of criticism from various corners of the world. Some sections accused the continental body of being out of sync with the so-called winds of democracy that are currently sweeping through the continent.

Others opined that the AU's decision was largely informed by some African leaders who, like the beleaguered Brother Leader Muammar Gaddafi, were facing similar threats of being unseated by civilian uprisings in their own backyards.

So many other arguments were also proffered in order to put the AU's position into the global perspective.

However, after going through some of the arguments, I felt that most of them failed to properly analyse the African position on its own merit. Most analysts allowed emotions, ideological prejudice and political preconceptions to mar their judgments.

At the end, I felt that the gist of the AU pronouncement had clearly evaded the comprehension of many. For a start, the continental body announced that it will not recognise the NTC because Article 30 of its Constitutive Act clearly stipulates that the body will not recognise governments that come into power through unconstitutional means.

It is apparent that the AU, guided by this legislature, was obliged to reject any association with the Libyan rebels. Simple logic informs us that the NTC is not a constitutional entity as it came into being after usurping power through unconstitutional military means.

The continental body was therefore simply subjecting itself to the dictates of the rule of law. This is the same rule of law that most of its members are arbitrarily accused of lacking. It is therefore ironic that Africans are now being ostracised for piously preserving the sanctity of this overly quoted democratic principle.

Antithetically, the same countries who claim to be paragons of democracy are feverishly at the forefront of pestering our countries into undermining the rule of law through the recognition of the illegitimate council of clueless rebels in Libya.

Instead of applauding Africa for upholding this hallmark of democracy, western countries, through their equally imperial media outlets, are trying to blackmail the continent into blindly rubberstamping its ill-advised military escapade in Libya.

It should be put to record that this was not the first time that the AU has refused to recognise governments that had come to power through unconstitutional means. In its short history the continent has witnessed numerous coups and civilian uprisings.

Interestingly, the grouping had to a greater extent steadfastly rejected to recognise the resultant unconstitutional governments till they restored democracy through the holding of elections.

In December 2008, the AU together with the west and other nations roundly condemned a military coup led by Captain Moussa Dadis Camara in Guinea. Together, they have put constant pressure on the junta to return the country to democracy. As a result, Guinea is preparing to hold its elections on 27 November 2011.

Similarly in 2009 the AU, the West and many other nations unreservedly condemned a civilian uprising in Madagascar that led to the toppling of the government of Marc Ravalomanana with Andry Rajoelina taking over as president.

All nations denounced the unconstitutional seizure of power and urged the mutineers to restore democracy. Western nations even went on further to withdraw their humanitarian assistance to the Mediterranean island as a clear sign of their disapproval of the mutiny.

It boggles the mind therefore to see countries readily embracing a similarly unconstitutional take-over of power in Libya. Worse still, Africa is lambasted for failing to recognise the illegal outfit calling itself the National Transitional Council.

Why should Africa be coerced into recognising the NTC when its history clearly shows that it is averse to such machinations? Above all, why would nations stampede to recognise the NTC when they had previously denounced similar events in other countries? Are we seeing double standards at play here?

Other than its principled stance against unconstitutional governments, the AU is also justifiably seized by increasing reports of the callous murder of black immigrants by the rebels in Libya. Blacks are being arbitrarily accused of being mercenaries that defended the beleaguered Muammar Gaddafi.

Guided by its moral and legal conscience, the African grouping is refusing to support this flagrant abuse of human rights and the ensuing genocide. Unlike other countries, including a few African nations, who have turned a blind eye to these atrocious murders, the African Union cannot turn its back on its own kind. More so the continental grouping cannot sanitise and legitimise these heinous massacres merely because they had the blessings of the West. Africa cannot legitimise the murderous Libyan rebels!

In such instances, you turn to wonder why there is deafening silence and tacit complicity from the so-called champions of human rights. Maybe black rights are not human rights? Does someone smell some hypocrisy somewhere?

It is even more vexing to realise that 13 African countries have decided to side with the murderers for the sole reason of endearing themselves to their disempowering western donors. Unlike other countries that have reposed their moral conscience on western countries, the African Union remains guided by its own sense of morality.

Nonetheless, the decision by the AU to reject the NTC should also be viewed on the backdrop of unremitting and resource-driven efforts to recolonise the continent by its former colonial masters. The continent faces an inordinate scramble for its natural resources from all corners of the world.

While other countries like China are prepared to amorously court African countries into economic partnership, the bigoted West is once again employing military tactics to regain its total control over the continent's abundant resources.

It is also determined to use the regime change tactic to create client states in Africa that would easily open up their resource base to the caprice of the imperial economies.

Unfortunately for the West, the African Union has shown that it is awake to these hegemonic machinations hence its decision to refuse to recognise the newly established imperial outpost in Libya.

Africa is now aware of the neo-colonial juggernaut that has so far claimed the scalp of governments in Ivory Coast and Libya.

As it stands, Africa cannot afford to lose its pan-African guard as its former colonisers are sleeplessly plotting their comeback.

Cognisant of the foregoing, the decision by the African Union to disassociate itself from the illegally enthroned National Transitional Council becomes justifiable and beyond reproach.

Instead, the Africa Union should be saluted for its resolute adherence to the infallible virtues of rule of law, morality and defence of human rights.

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President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, right, hosted a meeting of the African Union Ad Hoc High Level Committee on Libya. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda is on the left.

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